General strength exercises are the physical exercises that are used in overall body conditioning. They are not directly related to the specific actions seen in a specific sport (i.e., strengthening the muscles as they are used in a specific sport and increasing an athlete’s functional potential for improved performance).The overhead press exercise which is used by runners can illustrate the concept of a general strength exercise. It is a common exercise in which the arms move directly upward overhead. In running, however, the arms move in a forward-backward motion in relation to the trunk.
Thus, the overhead press is a good exercise for strengthening the shoulders and arms, but, even though it uses some of the same muscles that are involved in running, it is not directly related to running. If an athlete has weak shoulders this exercise can improve strength capabilities which may indirectly help an athlete’s arms during a run. This exercise is not, however, as effective as an exercise in which the arm and shoulder movements duplicate the exact action (pathway) seen in running. This is known as a specialized exercise. An example of a specialized exercise for the shoulders is driving the arm from behind the body to in front of the body in the same pathway and in the same range of motion as seen in the running stride.