Improving pillar strength and stability is important for all clients. I prefer utilizing integrated exercises that target the shoulders, torso and hips in order to challenge the body to resist unwanted movement and/or create the desired amount of movement between the shoulders and hips. In this column, I will demonstrate how to incorporate the Halo® Trainer Plus to facilitate pillar strength.

    Execution: Position the Halo® Trainer Plus on top of the stability ball. It should fit snugly and cover the top 1/3 of the ball. Place the hands on the handles and align them beneath the shoulders while assuming a tall plank position. The feet should initially be at least shoulder width apart. Cue the client to contract the transverse abdominus to ensure a good neutral spine position.

    First, rock the trainer forward and backward (12 to 6 o’clock) in a slow deliberate manner while maintaining the neutral spine position. Perform 5-10 repetitions. Next, repeat the controlled motion moving side-to-side (3 to 9 o’clock) using the same cadence. Finally, perform small circles in a clockwise and counterclockwise pattern. Keep in mind that the amplitude of the motion and repetitions should be dictated by the client’s ability to control the motion and maintain good pillar alignment.

    Regressions:

    1.Decrease the amplitude of movement

    2.Perform the movement with the knees on the floor

    Progressions:

    1.Increase the amplitude of movement

    2.Decrease the width of the feet to narrow the base of support

    3.Perform the movements slower to increase time under tension

    4.Advance to active hip movements while stabilizing the shoulders and torso such as straight leg lifts, mountain climbers or diagonal mountain climbers

    Application: This exercise is an effective method for improving scapular stability, anti-extension strength, and dynamic shoulder stability. Specifically, I utilize it with overhead athletes, clients with a history of shoulder instability or scapular dyskinesia and those seeking a way to target the midsection in a more creative and challenging manner..

    The Halo® Trainer Plus offers the ability to safely and effectively improve shoulder, torso and hip stability. Specifically, it allows the wrists to remain in a more neutral position and gain the benefit of using the stability ball without losing control if it would slip out from beneath the hands. In addition, the Halo® Trainer Plus allows the client to incrementally increase or decrease the amplitude of movement to meet the demands/ability of each respective user despite their inherent strength levels.

    The Halo® Trainer Plus offers the ability to bring more stability to unstable training. It can also be used in isolation or in conjunction with the stability ball allowing for multiple variations, progressions and regressions of training exercises. The exercises discussed in this column are best implemented with proper verbal and tactile cues to maintain ideal body alignment until the client masters the technique.

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