Functionally Fit starts a new miniseries, this time targeting the shoulder. Part 1 takes a look at an exercise using a BOSU balance ball, and it's perfect for stability training.

    See 'Related Resources' below for past Functionally Fits (including the knee series) and other exercises and training tips.


    Place both hands on the outer portion of the BOSU with the feet shoulder-width apart. The elbows should be slightly bent.

    Keeping the abs tight and body in a straight line throughout, you move the BOSU in the following sequences:

    1. Up and down: 12 o'clock and 6 o'clock
    2. Side to side: 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock
    3. Clockwise and counterclockwise

    Perform 10-15 repetitions in each pattern or for a specified time. Repeat one to three sets as desired.

    This exercise is an excellent shoulder stability training tool that I often use as part of a dynamic shoulder warmup series for my athletes. It also works well for anyone suffering from instability or in need of scapular stabilization training. Additionally, it is an excellent core training exercise. It should, however, be avoided in the presence of any pain or significant shoulder weakness.

    Additional Notes
    This exercise can be modified by having the client begin in kneeling position and learning to master the form and proper control of the BOSU without being impacted by any core imbalances. In fact, I start most clients this way. In extreme cases (seniors and post-injury clients), you may initiate this sequence with a stability ball on the wall to reduce axial loading.

    I prefer slower speeds to sufficiently engage the core and adequately create co-contraction and stabilization at the shoulder joint. Moving too fast allows clients to use momentum and minimize the core/shoulder work. To increase difficulty, instruct the client to hold at the various clock positions in sequences 1 and 2 for two to three seconds each time and/or narrow the base of support by placing the feet together or even in a tripod position with one foot on the ground for highly skilled users.

    Brian Schiff, PT, CSCS ( is a licensed physical therapist, respected author and fitness professional. He became a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) in 1998. In 2000, he opened his own personal training and sport-specific conditioning facility, Fitness Edge, in Dublin, Ohio. Brian has presented at several professional conferences and seminars on injury prevention and sport-specific training.


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