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Prevention of abdominal and shoulder injuries

Prevention of abdominal and shoulder injuries

Maintaining the integrity of the kinetic chain, good rotation and proper leg drive are cornerstones of proper serve technique.  Players need to be able to draw from the power of the legs and trunk to execute a serve safely and effectively.

High Pulls: 

The high pull is an explosive full body lift that is used to build power.  This exercise uses the entire kinetic chain and is ideal for training for the serve.  Start by standing over a barbell loaded with low to moderate weight.  With the balls of the feet positioned under the bar squat down and grasp the bar using an overhand grip with the hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Position your shoulders over the bar with the back arched slightly, core muscles contracted, and the chest pushed forward. Keeping your arms straight, pull the bar up off the floor by vigorously extending the hips and knees. As the bar reaches the knees raise the shoulders while keeping the barbell close to the thighs.  Jump upward while pulling, extending the body. Pull the bar to chin height.  The bar should follow a straight path from the floor to chin level and the momentum behind the lift comes from the initial leg drive.  After the pull, bend knees slightly and lower barbell to mid-thigh position. Slowly lower the bar while maintaining a good posture in the lower back and trunk close to vertical. If you are using rubberized plates, you can drop the bar to the floor from the top position.  This will minimize the stain associated with “catching” the bar and controlling its downward path. 

** Note this is an advanced exercise that should be performed under the supervision of a certified strength and conditioning specialist.

High Pull - Start Position
High Pulls - Photo 2

Medicine ball squat/chest throw: 


The medicine ball squat/chest throw also develops lower body power and use of the kinetic chain.  Starting in a standing position, hold a 3-5 kg* medicine ball at chest level.  Drop into a squat position and immediately explode upward, performing a chest throw that launches the ball straight up in the air.  Land in a balanced position with the weight on the balls of the feet and the knees and hips slightly flexed.  Let the ball bounce once and as the ball is caught, immediately drop into a squat position and repeat the movement.  Perform 10-12 repetitions of the exercise.

* Before puberty, players should use lighter, 1-2 kg medicine balls.

medicne ball chest throw


Additional exercises:

Low to High Pulls

Medicine ball underhand toss

Medicine ball split step rotations

45 degree abdominal obliques rotations

Dying bug

Prone Bridging

Back Bridging



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