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WHAT TO DO ABOUT YOUNG ATHLETES WHO ARE MULTI-SPORT ATHLETES

WHAT TO DO ABOUT YOUNG ATHLETES WHO ARE MULTI-SPORT ATHLETES


athlete, exercise, Rotator Cuff, shoulder, young athletes
Shoulder Exercises

 

It’s amazing to me how we have year round sports being played.  Young athletes are playing their sport in season and then either jump to another sport or begin “off season” camps or travel teams.  There truly is no off season anymore.  Because there is no off season, injuries mount, particularly ones from overuse.


What’s unfortunate is that kids and parents don’t realize that they are not “miniature adults.”  They need recovery.  Even our pro athletes have an off season!  Sure, they are lifting weights and training, but there is still a time period where they vacation or do something to let their brains and their bodies recover.


 So what do we do about the athlete who plays sports year round?  Let’s say for example that we have a young male athlete that plays football, basketball, and baseball.  Or, if you are a female athlete (depending on where you live), who plays soccer, volleyball, and softball.  Clearly, this is a problem because they often jump from one sport to the other.


The good thing about this is that the sports are different so the muscles and metabolic pathways being used are different.  The bad thing about this is that the body is often “running on fumes” because there is little recovery.  What complicates this more is that young athletes often eat poorly – they live on fast food and poor eating habits, like not eating breakfast.


 How do we keep this athlete strong and how do we maintain strength?  What should the athlete focus on when they do train while in season or transitioning seasons?  Well first of all, research has shown that strength can be maintained with only 1-2 sessions per week.  Gaining strength during the season is very difficult.


If I have a young athlete in rehab, I will address the issue that they are being sent to me for, but also do as many total body exercises as possible or what the injury will allow.  I would rather have an athlete work many muscle groups at the same time than train individual muscles, like in a bicep curl.  Keep the workouts short and with high intensity.  “Get in and get out!”


 If I have a healthy athlete, again, I focus on total body workouts.  Since this is a shoulder site, regardless of the sport being played or the season, doing the rotator cuff exercises and scapular stabilization exercises pictured on this site should be performed year round.  Yes, these are not “total body exercises” like I talked about, but these would be excellent exercises to perform as an “active recovery” between sets of total body training.


 In my experience in professional baseball, one learning experience I had there was that I found it interesting that pitchers who just finished pitching went through a light dumbbell program after pitching for the rotator cuff and scapular stabilizers!   Again, these are maintenance exercises during the season, but just crucial to keep the shoulder healthy.  Subsequent days involved more total body exercises, like squats, lunges, and step ups.

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