Importance of Proper Warmup in Overhead Athletes

With fall sports in full swing and athletes playing and training year-round it is important to take care of the body, particularly the areas that we place high loads and stress on.


One of the most common areas for injuries in throwing athletes is the shoulder due to overuse. The shoulder is a ball and socket joint made up of the bone in the upper arm, shoulder blade and collar bone. It is surrounded by a joint capsule along with rotator cuff muscles that perform movement, provide stability and control. An injury can occur at any of the above-mentioned locations.

Most commonly we associate shoulder injuries in throwing athletes with baseball, but these injuries can occur in other sports as well including football, basketball, golf, tennis, volleyball, track and field. One of the most common mistakes for athletes that can lead to injury is an improper warm up or often no warm up at all. We live in a busy world where we are constantly in a hurry and on the move but a quick 10 minute warm up can make a significant difference in the safety, performance and mechanics of our body.

When we think of a warmup most of us think of stretching and holding that stretch for 20-30 seconds however in most cases the most effective warm up is one that is dynamic. What is a dynamic warm up? A dynamic warm up is movement while you stretch. It takes the targeted area of the body and moves it through the full available range of motion preparing it for the more intense activity to follow. Dynamic warmups help to increase blood flow, assist in decreasing muscle soreness, improve mobility/flexibility, and can improve overall performance.

At PRO Physical Therapy we want our athletes to stay healthy and perform at their highest level. Below are exercises that can become a key part of your warmup prior to practice, games or matches.

  1. Arm circles
  2. Shoulder retraction
  3. Light resisted external rotation
  4. Light resisted internal rotation
  5. Cross body diagonals