Is there anything more boring than thinking about training shoulder stability and rotator cuff strength work? I mean, the majority of training programs out there involve 15 different types of banded external rotation drills with the odd internal rotation one thrown in for good measure.
First start with it in standing, then move the elbow away from the body and do the same thing there, then go into half kneeling and do both of them there, lay on your back and sing Kumbaya while patting your head with your free hand, and do that three times a day.
That’s more effective than NyQuil at getting you to catch some Z’s.
So while these are all good exercises to do if your goal is to train strength of the rotator cuff, they specifically train the movement ability of the shoulder, but not necessarily the stability of the shoulder. Pinning the elbow to the ribs is awesome, and helps build some level of strength and stability while in that position, but when you move the elbow away from the body, there’s a lot more of a stability requirement compared to being against the shoulder.
Because of this, training the rotator cuff in a concentric/eccentric manner only will do a little bit to build stability, but it won’t do as much as more isometric type exercises in different positions.
So that’s where today’s exercise comes into play. It works on positional stability, with a changing force vector and a lot of mental toughness to help you maintain the position in the presence of fatigue.
Essentially, you need to get some scapular positional stability, glenohumeral stability, try to resist rotating the torso, and use a little bit of abs to hold it all together.
Who Did I Steal It From?
I saw a version of this from Mike Reinold in his and Eric Cressey’s Functional Stability Training of the Shoulder DVD series. He was using a TRX Rip Trainer but the concepts were to get the shoulder into a position, hold it there, and put some form of stress through the area with band tension and maintain the position during the entire set.
Doing exercises like this that actually challenge the stability of the shoulder work really well as a rehab exercise for the shoulder, but also as a warm up for any upper body work. I do this before any bench press work to wake up the shoulder and not fatigue it too much so that it can still hold the place together when adding some loading to it, and it seems to make a big difference in how my shoulders feel and how much weight I can push. Give it a try and see what you think about it.