Here is a stabilization drill I have started to use a lot to help weight bearing overhead athletes train dynamic stability. Many times the forces of handstands, impact, or other axial loads are very high and as a result injuries come up, such as anterior biceps tendinopathy, instability events, or posterior-inferior labral tears. Problems can also come up down the chain in the elbow or wrist if force transmission is not optimal to disperse energy into the trunk. To help tolerate these axial forces, we need to find a regression level that is appropriately challenging and build this stability over time.

For this drill, have the athlete go on hands and knees, and put their hand against the wall on top of a ball. While keeping the fingers open, have the lean some weight into the wall to help create a partial axial loading. Then manually perterbate their arm in a variety of directions with the cue of “don’t let me move you”. This will help force them to react to the perterbations and challenge them to maintain position.

Overtime, the amount of weight bearing can be progressed and the conditions of the perterbation can be increased in difficulty. Eventually, the goal is to get them into full upper extremity weight bearing progressions Remember this is only one piece of the puzzle as soft tissue limitations, strength deficits, or problems elsewhere in the entire body chain can contribute to injuries. Give it a shot, and hope it helps!


Dave Tilley DPT, SCS