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Overhead Lifts / Exercises


This week's question -

Should I do overhead lifts/exercises?

My answer -

The answer to this, like most questions, depends on who you are. If you have been following me for awhile, you know the majority of my clients are either competitive gymnasts, or have joint hypermobility, (and a lucky few who have both) so I will use those two examples to explain my answer.

On of the most common and basic elements in gymnastics is a handstand. Many other skills use or pass through that position in one way or another. Basically, it involves holding the entire body weight up with arms overhead upside down. Turn this around, and we have what looks like an overhead shoulder press. Since this is a very common element for gymnasts to perform in their training and competition, then yes it should be used in training, with proper progression and coaching, and can potentially be build up to holding a weight equal to body weight overhead.

If your sport, job or hobby requires this type of movement, then you should probably overhead press as well.

On the other hand, many of my clients with hypermobility experience it systemically, meaning in all joints, including the shoulders. While some are more unstable than others, an overhead position tends to be an unstable position for the shoulder joint in anyone. Add weight to someone who doesn't typically get in an overhead position, and you could be looking at disaster. For people with this condition who do not get in an overhead position much for sports, work or hobbies, I do not recommend overhead work with weights. There are definitely some shoulder strength variations we can do to still work vertical (ish) pressing motion, but directly overhead is often not recommended.

Hope this helps!

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