Segmental stabilization exercises should be incorporated into any sport specific training regiment, and certainly considered during the off season. For runners, cyclist and weightlifters, stabilizing one extremity while another segment is moving can be one of the most demanding aspects of performance, especially for posterior musculature like your shoulder, back and hip muscles. I like to integrate them throughout an athletes season to evaluate areas of limited mobility or dynamic strength loss due to changes from efficiency or disuse atrophy. They can also be used as assessment or screening tools for the recovering athlete.
To address posterior muscles and joint mobility, the Kettlebell over-head squat is one of my favorite exercises to perform. It requires good hip and spine mobility and good shoulder stability. But what I like most is the versatility of the routine. You can isolate the upper extremity and move just the lower extremities, or isolate the lower and move the upper extremities to assess mobility and stability of primary, secondary movers.
It is important you allow the upper trapezius to relax so the shoulder blade can lower. Perform a squat without allowing the the elbow to bend or shoulder blade (scapula) to raise or shrug. The movements should be smooth and efficient while maintaining stability, but not at the expense of scapula elevation so avoid THE SHRUG! you can click here to view the video.
What’s the benefit of this type of exercise?
- The number of moving parts required is essential in identify areas of weakness or immobility
- It allows the athlete to self identify areas that may require special attention, especially during the off season.
- For athletes recovering from injury, It’s a great way to measure progress. The movements will become more efficient and less guarded as your rehabilitation conditioning program improves.
You will find additional routines that address segment stability and mobility using the Landmine Squat
Thank you and I hope the material was informative.