If You Ever Wondered Why We Do Sooooo Much Overhead Lifting

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In the article Overhead is Rising from the CF Journal, BIll Starr outlines 6 reasons overhead lifting is a safe and essential fitness tool to developing your athletic potential:

1.”Convertible” Strength – The strength gained from doing presses and other overhead exercises is applicable to more athletic events than any other shoulder girdle movement—especially those sports that require the athletes to extend their arms overhead, including basketball, volleyball, tennis, baseball, lacrosse, swimming, the field events in track(javelin, shot put), and nearly every position in football.

2.Proportionate Strength – Overhead exercises develop a more proportionate strength in the shoulder girdle than any other upper body movement. Presses, jerks, push presses, and push jerks create wide, powerful arms and shoulders, with less emphasis on the chest muscles, which play a minor role in nearly every sport. Overhead work does hit the high portion of the chest—a good thing since that part of the pecs helps to stabilize the shoulder girdle.

3.More Flexibility – Overhead exercises do not hinder shoulder flexibility. Rather, they enhance it—an important point for anyone participating in a sport which requires a high degree of shoulder flexibility, such as gymnastics, the martial arts, and wrestling.

4.Works Back, Hips, even Legs – While most upper body exercises only work the groups that make up the shoulder girdle, overhead movements also strengthen the back, from the traps to the lumbars, and also directly involve the hips, glutes, and legs. Most do not think about how much the back is utilized during overhead lifts.

5.Protects Rotator Cuffs – The area of the back that get the most sore is usually the middle or right over his shoulder blades. Gaining and maintaining strength in this latter area is extremely beneficial since this is where the muscles that constitute the rotator cuffs are located. Back when the overhead press was the primary upper body exercise, rotator cuff injuries were unheard of.

6.Balance and Good Looks – The overhead lifts belong in the routine of every athlete. Presses, jerks, push presses, and push jerks build a more balanced and pleasing physique than other upper body exercises.

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