High-SchoolGirl: Body parts

Head-to-toe workouts for 2012

January, 4, 2012
1/04/12
12:31
PM ET
Body PartsESPNHSStart 2012 off right by getting into shape for your upcoming sports season with these 32 exercises.

No matter what your sports goal is for 2012, you won't be able to achieve it without putting in some extra work.

These 32 exercises can help you safely get into shape from head to toe for your upcoming season.

Shoulders: Overhead presses, Y's and T's, L's and Lateral raises

Chest/Pecs: Chest presses, Chest flies and Push-ups

Biceps/Triceps: Forward biceps curls, Diagonal biceps curls, Triceps raises and Triceps kick backs

Core: Plank rollouts, Stability ball pikes and Side planks

Lower Back: Reaching opposites, Deadlifts and Bridges

Hips: Side walks, Planks and raises and Side leg lifts

Glutes: Squats, Step-ups and Reverse hyper extensions

Quads/Hamstrings: Bulgarian split squats, Reverse lunges and Stability Ball leg curls

Knees: Goblet squats, Overhead lunges and Single-leg step-downs

Calves/Ankles: Toe raises, Calf raises and Circles and Figure Eights
In this “Body Parts” series, Dimity McDowell gets you in playing shape, from head to toe.

Exercises for your: Chest | Biceps/Triceps | Shoulders | Core | Lower Back | Hips | Glutes | Quads/Hamstrings | Knees

Body Part: Calves and ankles

What they do: Dominated by the calf, which runs along the back of your leg, the muscles of your lower leg lift your heels and point your toes. They also stabilize your leg’s connection to your foot, so that your leg moves as one strong limb, not a mess of bended joints and muscles. “For your best performance, your calves have to be strong and flexible so you can change direction and push off without the knee or ankle absorbing the impact,” says Briana Boehmer, director of wellness and fitness services at Salus, Inc. in Delafield, Wis. It’s important to keep your ankles flexible, too. “If they’re not,” Boehmer says, “you’re more prone to twisting them when you land from a jump, change direction quickly or run on an uneven surface.”

Used most commonly when you: Take off and land after a jump shot, point your toes in a freestyle kick, run a cross-country course, sprint during the 100 meters, walk on your tip--toes, press the gas pedal in a car, and otherwise point your toes or raise your heels.

Three moves for stronger, more flexible calves and ankles:

Toe Raise
Calf exercisesCourtesy of Michael Boehmer/ESPNHSToe Raises, positions A and B.

How to:
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointed straight ahead and hands on your hips. Keeping your posture straight and your gaze forward, raise your toes off the floor. You can either do this barefoot or in flexible shoes. Hold for a few seconds and lower. As you get stronger, you can either do this off a step — position yourself so your toes would drop down below the step, and you raise them above it — or increase the speed of your raises without sacrificing control. Do 2-3 sets of 15-20 raises.

Calf Raise
Calf exercisesCourtesy of Michael Boehmer/ESPNHSCalf Raises, positions A and B.

How to:
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointed straight ahead and hands on your hips. Keeping your abs engaged and your gaze forward, raise your heels off the floor. You can either do this barefoot or in flexible shoes. To challenge yourself, you can either hold weights in your hands or drop your heels off a step and raise them. “In addition, rotating your feet inward or outward will challenge your calf and create more functional strength,” Boehmer says. Do 2-3 sets of 15-20 raises.

Circles and Figure Eights
Calf exercisesCourtesy of Michael Boehmer/ESPNHSFigure eights, positions A and B.

How to:
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointed straight ahead and hands on your hips. Keeping your abs engaged and your gaze forward, raise your right foot off the floor. Flexing at the ankle, rotate your right foot in a circular motion clockwise 5-10 times then counter clockwise 5-10 times. Lower your right foot if you need a break, then pick it up again and, again flexing at the ankle, draw figure eights in both directions with your toes. Draw 5-10 figure eights in both directions, then switch feet. Do 2-3 sets total. “While this may not seem hard,” Boehmer says, “pay attention to your range of motion. You want to see an improvement in how flexible your ankles are.”

Let’s hear it for the calves: “The greatest benefit of strong calves is the lack of fatigue during races. When my calves aren’t tired, it is much easier to accelerate at those crucial points in the race, and to stay light on my feet for the majority of the race. Flexible ankles are also very beneficial, especially in cross country. During races the terrain is usually very unpredictable, uneven, and at times hilly. Flexible ankles are imperative to prevent a race-inflicted injury.” -- Maddie Timm, senior on the cross country and track team at Brookfield East (Wis.)
In this “Body Parts” series, Dimity McDowell gets you in playing shape, from head to toe.

Exercises for your: Chest | Biceps/Triceps | Shoulders | Core | Lower Back | Hips | Glutes | Quads/Hamstrings

Body Part: Knees

What they do: The joint that connects your upper leg to your lower leg, the knee is surrounded by ligaments and tendons. “You can’t strengthen ligaments and tendons,” says Michael Lagomarsine, head of strength and conditioning at the Boston University Athletic Enhancement Center. “Instead, the key is to build up the muscles that surround your knee.” When the muscles around your knees are strong, you can complete all the movement that the knees absorb impact from — accelerating, decelerating, changing directions and landing from a jump — without worrying that your knees are going to get injured.

Used commonly when you: Sprint downfield in a lacrosse game, land after a header in soccer, change directions quickly in basketball, serve a tennis ball, drive a golf ball, ski moguls, launch yourself off the halfpipe in snowboarding, or otherwise use your lower body.

Three ways to build solid, stable knees:

Goblet Squat
Body PartsCourtesy of Michael LagomarsineGoblet Squats, front and side views.

How to:
Stand with your feet just a bit wider than your shoulders and your toes turned out slightly. Hold a 25-pound dumbbell in both hands, like it’s a goblet, next to your chest. Your chest should be pushed out, and your back should have a slight arch. Engage your core and pretend like you’re sitting down in a chair, pushing your knees out to the side. “When you’re lowered, your elbows should graze against your knees,” Lagomarsine says. Keeping your chest up, stand back up. Do 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps.

Overhead Lunge
Body PartsCourtesy of Michael LagomarsineOverhead lunges, positions 1 and 2.

How to:
Start with feet together and your arms extended straight overhead; if you want, you can hold a pole or bar overhead. Take a large step forward with your right foot, landing on your heel. Slowly lower your body until your left knee is just above the ground. Drive through the right heel to return to standing. “Be sure to keep your core engaged to stabilize your lower back,” says Lagomarsine, who adds that this exercise builds both stability and motor control. Return to standing. Do 10-12 reps on the right leg, then 10-12 on the left to complete one set; do 2-3 sets total.

Single-Leg Step Down
Body PartsCourtesy of Michael Lagomarsine/ESPNHSSingle-Leg Step Downs, positions 1 and 2.

How to:
Stand on a step four to eight inches off the ground on your left leg; your right leg bent 90 degrees, so that your thigh is parallel to the ground. Extend your arms straight in front of you at shoulder-height. Then bend at the left knee and hip, like you were doing a single-leg squat, to lower your right leg toward the ground. Touch the ground with your right heel, but don’t put any weight on it. “Do your best to keep your pelvis level and your ankle, knee and hip in alignment in your top leg,” Lagomarsine says. Do 10-12 reps of 2-3 sets.

Let's hear it for the knees: “Strong legs and knees are important in hockey because I get speed and power from them. I am a forward, so I have to stop and start quickly and my knees help me do that. Strong knees allow me to keep my balance when I fire off a shot. They also help me not get knocked off the puck.” -- Bridget Fehily, freshman left wing on the ice hockey team at Boston Latin Academy (Dorchester, Mass.)
In this “Body Parts” series, Dimity McDowell gets you in playing shape, from head to toe.

Exercises for your: Chest | Biceps/Triceps | Shoulders | Core | Lower Back | Hips | Glutes

Body part: Quads and hamstrings

What they do: The upper half of your leg, the quads (front muscles) and hamstrings (back) are the primary movers of your legs, as well the controlling muscles of the hips and knees. The quads extend the knee and bend the hip, while the hamstrings bend the knee and extend the hip.

“The muscles work together during sports,” says Joseph Potts, a strength and conditioning coach and owner of TopSpeed Strength and Conditioning in Kansas City, Mo. “The hamstrings stabilize the knee when you kick a ball, while the quads control the lower leg as you swing your leg back behind your body.”

Potts stresses the importance of training both groups of muscles equally. Paying attention only to the quads can increase the risk of hamstring strains as well as ACL injuries and leave you on the sidelines.

“You should strive to have both groups equally strong,” he says.

Used commonly when you: Kick a ball, run from second to third base, skate after a puck, land after you fire a jump shot, power up your kick in freestyle, and otherwise propel yourself forward or backward.

Three exercises to strengthen your quads and hamstrings:

Bulgarian Split Squat

Body PartsCourtesy of Joseph A. PottsBulgarian Split Squats, positions 1 and 2.
How to: Start by facing away from a bench or step that is approximately knee-height and one full stride length away. Rest your right foot, laces down, on the bench. Bend your left knee — it should be lined up over your left ankle — until your right knee nearly touches the floor. Push back up through the heel of your left foot to straighten your left leg. Do 8-12 reps, switch legs. Do three sets total.

Reverse Lunge

Body PartsCourtesy of Joseph A. PottsReverse lunges, positions 1 and 2.
How to: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, a 5-10 pound dumbbell in each hand. Step backward with your right foot and lower your body until your right knee is a few inches off the ground. Return to starting position. Alternate legs, doing three sets of 8-12 reps. (Right + left leg lunge=1 rep.). To vary the move, step off a small — 6 inches or so — step, such as a weight-lifting platform or a step from aerobics. “That improves flexibility in the hips,” Potts says.

Body Parts
Courtesy of Joseph A. PottsStability Ball Leg Curls, position 1.
Stability Ball Leg Curls

How to: Lie on your back on the ground with your arms by your side, your legs straight and your heels resting on a stability ball (right). Raise your hips off the floor, then contract your hamstrings to pull the ball toward your rear end with your heels (below, right). Extend your legs to repeat one rep. “Be sure to keep your hips elevated through the entire exercise,” Potts says. Do three sets of 8-12 reps.

Body Parts
Courtesy of Joseph A. PottsStability Ball Leg Curls, position 2.
Let’s hear it for the quads and hamstrings: “Strong quads and hamstrings help you with pretty much everything in basketball. Strong quads allow you to accelerate and change direction quickly. Quads also help you jump higher when you are going up for a shot or blocking someone else’s. Strong hamstrings help you get up and down the floor and also protect your knees from injury.” — Ericka Simpson, senior point guard at Spring Hill (Kan.)

3 exercises to build glute strength

November, 30, 2011
11/30/11
10:17
AM ET
In this “Body Parts” series, Dimity McDowell gets you in playing shape, from head to toe.

Exercises for your: Chest | Biceps/Triceps | Shoulders | Core | Lower Back | Hips

Body Part: The Glutes

What they do: The biggest muscle in the body, the glutes are the primary movers of the legs when you walk, run, squat and climb.

“This muscle group provides the strength, speed, stability and power for nearly all forms of athletic motion,” says Joseph Potts, a strength and conditioning coach and owner of TopSpeed Strength and Conditioning in Kansas City, Mo. “Having weak glutes can greatly reduce your ability to run faster or farther, jump higher, throw a ball or even just stand up straight.”

But they’re not just helpful for your lower body; they also serve as a bridge for the power to move through your body and into the upper limbs, Potts says.

Used most commonly when you: Jump to block a shot in volleyball, push off the wall after a flip turn, rush the net in tennis, send off a 3-pointer in basketball, sprint to the finish line in cross-country, hit a home run in softball (Potts, a former strength and conditioning coach with the Kansas City Royals, notes that their best hitters had the strongest glutes) and otherwise engage your lower body.

Three exercises to strengthen your glutes

Squats
Body PartsCourtesy of Joseph A. PottsSquats, positions 1 and 2.

How to:
Position yourself with your feet hip-width apart, and either a bar across your back or, if you’re a beginner, with just your body weight. (Another option: a weight plate held close to your chest.) Keeping your abs tight, gaze forward with a straight spine, bend your knees and pretend like you’re sitting back on a chair; your rear end should be sticking out. “Don’t let your chest or trunk fall forward, which shows you are bending at the waist instead of sitting back,” Potts says. “Doing so can be dangerous to your lower back.” Lower so that your quads are parallel to the floor, then stand back up. Do 4 sets of 8 reps.

Step-ups
Body PartsCourtesy of Joseph A. PottsStep-ups, positions 1 and 2.

How to:
Find a bench, box or other sturdy object that hits you around your knees, and stand a few inches behind it. Holding a 10-25 pound dumbbell in each hand, place your right foot on top of the box. Pushing with your left heel while keeping your knee directly over your heel, step up. Don’t allow your left leg to touch the box or bench. Instead, raise the left knee to 90 degrees, then step back down to the ground. Alternate legs; do 3 sets of 12-16 reps total (6-8 reps on each leg).

Reverse Hyper Extensions
Body Parts
Courtesy of Joseph A. PottsReverse Hyper Extension, position 1.
How to:
Find an object that is at least hip-height, like a massage table or a bench. Place a light weight, about 10 pounds, between your ankles, then lay face-down on the table so that your hips are at the edge, your legs are hanging off the edge and your hands are anchoring you. Contract your glutes and raise your legs so that your body forms one straight line; do not arch your lower
Body Parts
Courtesy of Joseph A. PottsReverse Hyper Extension, position 2.
back. Lower and repeat. Do 3 sets of 10 reps.

Let’s hear it for the glutes: “Having strong glutes is important as a rower because they contribute to the explosive power behind each stroke, as well as the necessary body control to recover in between strokes; they allow me to slide my body back toward the starting position in rhythm with the rest of the team. I also recently completed a half-marathon, and glute strength was a key factor in finishing 15 minutes faster than my goal time.” -- Kelsey Simpson, senior at Kansas

3 exercises to strengthen your hips

November, 23, 2011
11/23/11
11:33
AM ET
In this “Body Parts” series, Dimity McDowell gets you in playing shape, from head to toe.

Exercises for your: Chest | Biceps/Triceps | Shoulders | Core | Lower Back

Body Part: Hips

What they do: The foundation of the lower body, the hips not only provide a stable platform to connect your upper half to your lower half, but they are also the source of most of your power. “Jumping, kicking, swinging, squatting, running, decelerating: all those motions originate in the hips,” says Michael Lagomarsine, head of strength and conditioning at the Boston University Athletic Enhancement Center. “It’s really vital that the muscles of the hips are strong and solid.”

The typical hips-wider-than-knees female alignment puts both joints in a vulnerable position, but by making your hips 3-D strong — hitting muscles that control your forward, backward and side-to-side movement — you can protect both your hips and knees. “If your hips aren’t strong, your knees are more prone to injury,” Lagomarsine says. “When you plant your foot and change direction, the hips absorb your momentum. If you don’t have strength in the hips, the force gets transferred to your knees, which can result in injury.”

Used most commonly used when you: Swing a softball bat or a golf club, fire off a slap shot, run, slow down to kick a soccer ball, lunge for a volleyball, sprint to the other side of the lacrosse field, flutter kick in butterfly, or otherwise move your lower body.

Three moves to make your hips stronger:

Hip exercisesMichael LagomarsineSide Walk, positions 1 and 2.
Side Walk
Hip exercises
Michael LagomarsinePlank and Raise, position 1.
How to:
Place both feet inside a medium-resistance band (top), and position it so that it’s stretched across the outside of both ankles. Stand with your feet wide enough so that there’s tension on the band (if it’s too big, wind it around one ankle to pick up some slack). Bend both knees and place your hands on your hips. Keeping your spine straight, take a small step to the left. “You
Hip exercises
Michael LagomarsinePlank and Raise, position 2.
should feel tension on the outside of your hips and legs,” Lagomarsine says. Take 15 steps in one direction, then 15 steps in the opposite direction. Rest for a bit, then do another set; complete 3 sets total.

Plank and Raise
Hip exercises
Michael LagomarsineSide Leg Lift, position 1.
How to:
Lie on your left side so that your body is in a straight line, feet stacked on top of each other. Rest on your left forearm. Push through your left forearm to raise your hips off the floor while your right hand rests on your right hip. Keeping your core engaged and your hips lifted, raise your right leg, foot flexed a few inches; if your hips sink or you compromise your form, lower the leg.
Hip exercises
Michael LagomarsineSide Leg Lift, position 2.
Start with 5 per side and work up to 10. Do three sets total.

Side Leg Lift
How to:
Lie on your right side, body in a straight line, right elbow bent and head resting in your right hand. Bend your right knee to a comfortable position. Activate your abs, and lift your left leg, eading with the heel, as high as you can without arching your back or breaking the alignment of your hips. Lower and repeat. Do 15 reps on one side and 15 on the other for one set; complete 3 sets.

Let’s hear it for the hips: “As a soccer player, hips are extremely important. Having strong hips helps me with turning quickly and striking the ball well. For the outside midfield position, where I play, I have to cross the ball a lot; strong hips are essential for successful passes.” -- Lindsay Mooradian, freshman midfielder on the Brookline (Mass.) soccer team
In this “Body Parts” series, Dimity McDowell gets you in playing shape, from head to toe.

Exercises for your: Chest | Biceps/Triceps | Shoulders | Core

Body Part: Lower Back

What it does: A crucial part of the core, the lower back provides stability to your body so that you can generate power as you jump, run, pivot, spike and move.

“Ideally, you want your lower back to be like a pillar,” says Michael Lagomarsine, head of strength and conditioning at the Boston University Athletic Enhancement Center. “It is the foundation for a strong body.”

When your lower back is stable, you’re less prone to injury and the rest of your muscles don’t fatigue as quickly because they’ve got a rock-solid pillar supporting them. In addition, the lower back is a major player when you bend, extend or rotate at the waist.

Body Parts: Lower back
Michael LagomarsineReaching Opposites, position 1.
Used most commonly when you: Nail a penalty kick in soccer, complete a tumbling run in gymnastics, throw a shot-put or javelin or discus in track, skate as quickly as you can across the rink to grab the puck, drive a golf ball off a tee, do a back bend in yoga, take a stroke in rowing, or otherwise move your upper body in conjunction with your lower.

Here are three exercises to strengthen the lower back:

Body Parts: lower back
Michael LagomarsineReaching Opposites, position 2.
Reaching Opposites
How to: Get down on all fours, with your knees lined up over your hips and your hands lined up directly below your shoulders (above). Engage your core and keep your spine straight. Raise your left leg to hip height and right arm to shoulder height at the same time; both of your limbs should be extended (right). Then return to the starting position. Do 3 sets of 12 per side. “Focus on one side at a time,” Lagomarsine says, “or you will lose your stable hip position.”

Deadlift
Body Parts, lower backMichael LagomarsineDeadlift, positions A and B.

How to:
Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees, push your rear end back and keep your back straight as you grasp either a bar or a set of dumbbells, which is resting on the floor. A standard 45-pound bar can work, but if you have any hesitation, start lighter. Push through your heels to stand up straight; keep your shoulders back and chest up through the whole motion. “You should feel it in your glutes and hamstrings,” Lagomarsine says. “Your lower back muscles help you keep the proper body angle.” Do 3 sets of 10.

Bridge
Body Parts: lower back
Michael LagomarsineThe up position in the traditional bridge.
How to:
Lie on your back with your arms at your sides, knees bent and feet
Body Parts: lower back
Michael LagomarsineThe up position in the more challenging bridge.
flat on the floor. Engage your abs and squeeze your glutes, then slowly lift your hips off the ground (right). “Don’t arch your back,” Lagomarsine says. Slowly lower to a point right above the ground, and repeat. To up the challenge, pull one knee toward your chest when your hips are lifted (below). Lower, and alternate between legs. Do 3 sets of 15 reps for the conventional way. If you take the challenge, do 3 sets of 10 reps.

Let’s hear it for the lower back: “A strong lower back is essential to success on the soccer field. All the power that I give the ball while heading it into the net or throwing it onto the field during a throw-in comes from my core and lower back. Core strength also helps me run faster and improve speed and efficiency while changing directions. Lastly, a strong, stable core gives me good balance -- soccer players need to be able to balance on one foot while kicking and shooting the ball.” -- Laura Perry, senior midfield/forward at Brookline (Mass.)
In this “Body Parts” series, Dimity McDowell gets you in playing shape, from head to toe.

Exercises for your: Chest | Biceps/Triceps | Shoulders

Body part: Core

What it does: The athletic buzzword of the last decade, the core — the area from the bottom of your ribs to the bottom of your booty — continues to get much of the focus when it comes to strength training.

And for good reason.

“Your power and stability originate in your core,” says Briana Boehmer, director of wellness and fitness services at Salus, Inc., in Delafield, Wis. “When your core is weak and collapses, so to speak, you can’t generate force. Your shoulders slump, your back buckles and you’re not half as effective as you could be.”

What’s more, because a weak or tired core doesn’t absorb the shock produced by running or pivoting or throwing, something else on your body has to take the brunt.

“It can often be the knees,” Boehmer says. “A weak core can often be the unexpected reason for an injury in the lower body.”

This week we’ll focus on the abs and obliques; in the coming weeks, we’ll hit the lower back, hips and glutes.

Used most commonly when you: Pivot to change directions on a field or court, swing a golf club or tennis racket, pitch a softball, throw a soccer ball in from the sidelines, run the hurdles, stand tall as you receive a trophy or ribbon, and anytime you move your arms and your legs simultaneously in an athletic motion.

Here are three exercises that target your core.

1. Plank Rollout
core strengthCourtesy of Michael Boehmer/ESPNHSPlank Rollout, positions A and B.
How to: Begin with your upper body resting lightly on a stability ball, and your forearms resting on the ball. Your knees are on the ground and your toes are tucked under. Roll your torso onto the ball so that your hands rest on the ground, arms straight and under your shoulders. With your abs tight, slowly walk your hands out so that your body rolls along the ball. “The further out you go, the more challenging it is to hold it correctly,” says Boehmer, who notes that your abs should be engaged and your hips in line with your knees, shoulders and head. Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute; repeat 3-4 times.

2. Stability Ball Pike
core strength
Courtesy of Michael Boehmer/ESPNHSPike, final position.
How to: Start the same way as you did in the plank rollout, rolling the ball to the furthest point on your lower body where you can still maintain proper form. Once you're there, raise your body at the hips by pushing your rear end up toward the ceiling. “The key is to engage your core,” Boehmer says. “Start with a small lift and challenge yourself to go higher as you get more comfortable.” Lower back down to your plank position, and repeat. Do 10-20 reps of 3-4 sets.

3. Side Plank
core strengthCourtesy of Michael Boehmer/ESPNHSSide Plank, positions A and B.
How to: Begin by sitting on your left side, legs straight, outer edge of left foot on the ground and inner edge of right foot positioned a few inches behind it. Your left arm should be extended straight down from your shoulder, palm a few inches from your left hip. Activate your abs, and lift your body up so that you’re resting on your left hand and edges of both feet. Extend your right arm up to the ceiling. “Be sure your body is in a straight line from head to toe and your shoulder blades are back and down,” says Boehmer, who adds that you can make the plank more challenging by putting one foot on top of the other or lifting the upper leg to hip-height. Hold for 5-10 seconds, then lower, maintaining good posture. Do 10-20 reps per side and 3-4 sets.

Let's hear it for the core: “Core training has been a vital part of my swim training and running. In swimming, a strong core allows me to better control my movements and fight off fatigue. With running, when I want to run harder or faster, my energy and drive comes from my core. I feel this is especially true when I run hills. Plus, a strong core helps me stay balanced when I run, which makes me less prone to injury.” -- Laura Werking, junior swimmer and runner at Brookfield East (Brookfield, Wis.)
In this “Body Parts” series, Dimity McDowell gets you in playing shape, from head to toe.


Body part: Shoulders

What they do:Super mobile and surprisingly delicate, the shoulder joint aids in lifting, stabilizing, supporting and rotating the arms. They play a part in any movement that involves your arms, whether it’s giving them a solid platform from which to move or aiding them in movement. “Because of the tremendous range of motion, it’s one of the most unstable joints in the body,” says Joseph Potts, a strength and conditioning coach and owner of TopSpeed Strength & Conditioning in Kansas City, Mo. “In order to have injury-proof shoulder muscles, you have to stay on top of keeping them strong year-round.”

Used most commonly when you: Pitch or throw a softball; pump your arms in cross country or track; pass, set or spike in volleyball; hit any stroke in tennis or golf; hold a bat, lacrosse stick or field hockey stick; do push-ups or downward dog; and generally just move in any athletic motion.

Here are four exercises to strengthen your shoulders:

1. Overhead press

high school body partsCourtesy of Jospeh A. Potts/ESPNHSOverhead press, positions A and B.
How to: Holding a 15-25 pound dumbbell in either hand — go lighter if need be — begin with your elbows bent, upper arms close to your sides, palms facing forward, knees bent slightly. Keeping your abs engaged, push both weights overhead in one smooth motion, so that your arms are nearly straight. Lower; do 8-10 reps, 2-4 sets. Note: if your sport requires regular overhead motion — volleyball players, tennis players, javelin throwers, freestyle swimmers, softball players — change your grip so that your palms face each other, as these volleyball players are demonstrating in the picture. “Switching the grip avoids the chance of impingement of the tendon that connects the bicep muscle to the shoulder,” Potts says. “Repeated impingement over time can cause that tendon to tear.”

2. Y’s and T’s

high school body partsCourtesy of Joseph A. Potts/ESPNHSShoulder "T's," positions A and B.
How to: Bend at the hips with a straight spine and hold a 5-pound weight in each hand. Keeping your upper body still and neck in line with your spine, let your arms extend straight underneath you, palms facing each other. Then raise your arms overhead so your body forms a “Y” shape. Return to the start; do 3 sets of 10. Staying in that position, extend your arms straight out from the shoulder, so that your body forms a “T”. Do another 3 sets of 10.

3. L’s

high school body partsCourtesy of Joseph A. Potts/ESPNHSShoulder "L's," positions A and B.
How to: Lie on your left side, left arm extended, head resting on your left forearm. Hold a 5-pound dumbbell in your right hand. With a 90-degree bend in your elbow, cement your right upper arm to your right side. Using just your forearm, lower the weight so that your right palm comes down toward your hip, then raise it back so that your forearm is perpendicular to the floor. One rep done; do 3 sets of 10, then switch sides.

4. Lateral Raise

high school body partsJoseph A. Potts/ESPNHSLateral Raise, positions A and B.
How to: Stand with 10-pound weights in either hand (go lighter or heavier, if need be), abs engaged, knees slightly bent. Arms hang by your sides, palms facing in. In one smooth motion, raise both arms out to the side until shoulder-height, then slowly lower down. Do 2-4 sets of 8-12 reps.

Let’s hear it for the shoulders: “In volleyball, the shoulders are probably the most used body part. They need to be stable for passing, strong and controlled for swinging and serving. They connect the ball to your core. When my shoulders are strong, my arms swing faster, my serve is more powerful and I have more control. I can stop and start motions, which is key: having power without stability can lead to injury.” -- Aubrey Rumore, junior, defensive specialist, Bishop Miege (Shawnee Mission, Kan.)

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