Much like running places a lot of stress on the foot and ankle over time, repetitive overhead activities have a similar effect on the shoulder. Baseball pitching, serving in tennis, swimming and other sports moves can take a toll on your shoulders.

As I have discussed in other tips, creating an offseason to allow a few months for the shoulder to rest and recover could prevent injuries in athletes of overhead sports. Likewise cross-training a few times each week can distribute stress to other parts of the body.

Shoulder pain might make weights or other overhead sports difficult, but that pain shouldn't prevent all exercise.

You can perform exercises that could strengthen your upper body and possibly prevent shoulder injuries as well. Baseball pitchers have been doing these exercise programs, like the Throwers’ Ten, for years. These daily exercises might help all overhead athletes.

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These programs consist of exercises designed to develop strength of the rotator cuff and other muscles around the shoulder used in those sports. For example, the Throwers’ Ten program aims to develop the muscles specific to the throwing motion. These overhead sports exercises can be adjusted based on the specific sport.

As with learning any new exercise program, you might want to learn proper techniques for the exercises before you start flailing your arms. In this case, athletic trainers and physical therapists can both design the program for your sport and teach you to perform the exercises properly.