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Screening The Overhead Lift

I was recently reading the article titled “Shoulder function during overhead lifting tasks: implications for screening athletes” that was published in the strength and conditioning journal in 2015 and thought I would discuss some of the key take home messages.

Overhead lifts such as the snatch, military press, football bar press, dumbbell shoulder press and kettlebell press are commonly prescribed in strength and conditioning circles to help develop strength and power in the shoulder girdle.  From a clinical perspective, many individuals often find overhead pressing challenging and often this is as a result of mobility or stability/control issues around the shoulder.  Individuals who lack adequate thoracic spine, shoulder girdle or upper limb mobility may find certain exercises to be more difficult that others.  Those who have a history of shoulder complaints such as a shoulder impingement might also find that performing these exercises may aggravate pre existing complaints.  Hence it is important that one looks to obtain the required movement through the thoracic spine and shoulder girdle and then look to develop the appropriate scapular control and ability to lock out in a closed packed shoulder position.

Key Messages From The Article

  • Individuals who perform overhead lifting should have optimal shoulder mechanics (meaning they should have appropriate scapulothoracic and glenohumeral joint range of motion and control) should they look to reduce their risk of injury with overhead lifting activities.
  • Impingement conditions are commonly seen in those who perform overhead lifting.
  • The bilateral shoulder elevation test has been reported to be useful screening tool to identify movement compensations around the shoulder.
  • Assessment of the muscles around the shoulder i.e. pectoralis minor, latissimus dorsi, levator scapulae, internal and external GH rotators should form part of ones assessment of the shoulder in those who are looking to perform overhead lifting (and I would argue pulling) movement.

This blog post was written by osteopath Heath Williams at Principle Four Osteopathy.  At Principle Four Osteopath we provide a range of services, including osteopathy manual therapy consultations, functional movement screening, exercise prescription, strength and conditioning and rehabilitation.

Principle Four Osteopathy is one of Melbourne City CBD and Docklands leading osteopathy clinics.  Both clinics are equipped with training equipment so that we are able to get you actively involved and moving towards a better moving you.

Principle Four Osteopathy CBD clinic is located at 29 Somerset Place, Melbourne 3000.

Principle Four Osteopathy Docklands clinic is located at 717 Bourke St, Docklands, 3008.

Book an appointment online at www.principlefourosteopathy.com or call 03 9670 9290.