In the previous column, I introduced StrongBoard. In addition to lower body/core training, it can also be paired with elastic resistance and handles to aid in upper body training. Integrating shoulder training with an unstable surface for the lower body will add more of a full body workout to an otherwise simple shoulder exercise.
In this column, I will discuss how to use StrongBoard along with StrongStrap by Stroops to add upper body resistance training for the shoulder while training balance and stability at the same time.
Execution: Attach the StrongStrap and desired level of Slastix resistance sleeves/handles to your StrongBoard. Grasp the handles and slowly stand up on the board one leg at a time. The feet should initially be at the furthest edges of StrongBoard. Next, bend the knees to about 30 degrees and find a secure balance point. Once this position has been achieved, switch the handles so they form an x pattern (left hand is holding the right-sided handle and vice-versa).
Slowly lift both arms up in a forward shoulder raise to 90 degrees. Pause at the top and lower down. The cadence should be slow and deliberate to avoid a sudden loss of balance. Perform 10 repetitions or for a desired time. Next, progress to a lateral raise with slightly bent elbows in the scapular plane.
Note: avoid straight arm lateral raises to reduce the lever arm on the rotator cuff and avoid potential impingement. Repeat for a desired number of sets or time duration for each shoulder raise.
1. Increase the cadence and/or hold time at the top of the raise
2. Move to a deeper squat
3. Move the feet closer together to narrow the base of support
4. Increase the level of upper body resistance
5. Advance to balancing on one leg
1. Decrease the level of upper body resistance (if applicable)
2. Reduce the height of the shoulder raise
3. Perform the shoulder raise in a split squat position with the front foot on StrongBoard and the rear foot on the ground. In this position, it may be difficult to cross the elastic sleeves in an x position (especially for the lateral raise).
Application: Improving core and lower body stability is always a primary goal for training athletes and clients active in recreational activities. Combining a traditional shoulder raise exercise with StrongBoard allows for added challenge and a new twist on an otherwise relatively simple upper body exercise. In sport and life, the arms will drive activity at times while the lower body has to respond. In this exercise, the arms drive the movement and the instability created by StrongBoard forces the lower body to counter any perturbations and loss in equilibrium created by these arm movements.
This exercise will introduce a mental and physical challenge to shoulder training, as well as create a full body exercise with enormous proprioceptive input at the same time. Keep in mind it is important to provide appropriate tactile cues and spotting for safety, but this is a fun way to challenge clients and offer a big bang for the buck exercise.