Rotator Cuff Exercise #3

Exercise in video below is a more advanced bodyblade  rotator cuff exercise that is great for strengthening the rotator cuff.   I use this exercise as a part of my warm ups especially before I bench press.  This workout can also be a great finisher after a chest or shoulder workout.  The good thing about bodyblades is that they a very low impact tool and it is very difficult to hurt your self with them.   I highly recommend athletes to use these and I see more and more physical therapy offices starting to carry them.

Tips for this exercise:

  • Stand erect keeping the natural curves of the spine.  Squeeze abs and glutes to stay in right position.
  • Keep your wrist straight/flat.
  • Look Straight ahead.

Bullet Proof Shoulders

Rotator cuff is a group of muscles and their tendons that work together coherently to stabilize the shoulder. The four muscles are the supraspinatus muscle, the infraspinatus muscle, teres minor muscle, and the subscapularis muscle.  The rotator cuff is very important for preventing shoulder injury.   One of my favorite ways to build the rotator cuff is working with the body blade.  I have used the body blade to rehabilitate my shoulder and make them bullet proof.  I have tried almost everything out there that I can think of and body blade worked better than anything else.

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Below is a body blade exercise which is my basic exercise that I show beginners and this one is a staple of my warms ups and cool downs.  I will share various other exercises with the body blade but this exercise should be mastered first. 

Key Points to Remember in exercise below

  1. Stand Straight with the natural curvature in the back.  Squeeze glutes and abs to make sure you are in right posture
  2. Your arm should not be perpendicular to your chest.  There should be an 120-130 angle from your arm to your chest.
  3. Feet shoulder with apart and parallel to each other.
  4. Look straight across.

Building the Feet

There are various exercises I perform to build strong feet.  One thing I found to be helpful is combining bodyblade drills with PVC balancing.  This will blast your intrinsic feet muscles and will challenge your balance.  This can be a fun workout to do with friends.  I recommend performing this exercise after you have been working on PVC pipe balancing exercises for a while and you can balance your self for at least a minute.  The bodyblade will throw in a whole new element in PVC proprioception training.

Stronger Feet = Better Perfomance

Feet muscles are one of the most important muscles to train in order to become more athletic in my opinion.  Training the feet muscles is something overlooked by most athletes and coaches.  In the judo community, "foot sweeps" require strong feet and some judo athletes train the feet but they are probably not realizing all the other benefits they get by this type of training.  Training the feet muscles can improve speed, power and balance.  Athletes that perform in the field are moving in various directions and this movement starts in the feet.  In my opinion quality of movement and agility is linked with the performance of feet muscles.  

One of the best ways to strengthen the feet is balance training on PVC pipes.  This is something that is becoming more popular among the MMA community.  This type of training rewires your nervous system, which I believe is a big part of the human performance puzzle.  If you have not seen my article on this type of training and rewiring the nervous system, please check out my article titled: "Turkish Get Ups With Water Bottles and The Whole Puzzle Of The Athletic Game"

This type of training technically is proprioception training.  Proprioception is basically one's awareness of their body in space based on the sensation received by proprioceptors which are sensors in limbs that provide information on joint angle, muscle length, and muscle tension.

Athletes generate force from the ground.  Imagine if you were standing on ice and you were trying to push something.  It would be very difficult since you do not have something to push off from.  I hope this example gives you an idea of how important the feet are for force production. As someone once said "A chain is not stronger than it's weakest link." This applies to the body and all muscles must be strong for maximum performance.   Strong feet are the foundation for athletes the generate strength.  

When I first started balance training on PVC pipes, I noticed I was getting faster and more agile on the mat then when I was doing judo.   My balance improved and I was not getting thrown as much.  This gave me a sense of confidence and I was able to stay more relaxed during sparring seasons.  Being able to be relaxed during sparring can help combat athletes conserve energy.  I highly recommend this type of training for athletes that need to perform.  Squats and deadlifts are great but they do not train the feet muscles as these exercises do.   PVC pipe feet exercises are for elite athletes that are trying to get an edge.  It can be very dangerous if it is not done right under supervision of a coach.  I would not do this type of training on PVC pipes that are larger than 3 inches in diameter.


Bungee Chord Up and Down Waves

In earlier posts I shared videos on bungee chord up and down waves.  This is a great tool to build up grip endurance.  It really works the forearms rigorously since you will have to hold on super tight to ensure the rope does not slip out of your hands.  In video below I wrap the chord around my hand so I am not working my grip as much.  I do this exercises with and without the chord wrapped around my hands.  If you do it with  the chord wrapped around your hands, your grip will not be fatigued too early so you can go for a longer duration and focus on the conditioning of shoulders, triceps, biceps, lats and traps.

Grip Work: Rowing With A Towel

Having a strong grip is very important for combat sports.  I think this is something most combat athletes became aware of over time.  Coaches such as Jimmy Pedro focused on gripping very early in his career which in my opinion is  a part of his great success throughout his career.  Captain crush grippers, IMTUGs, go- really-grip machine,etc. are all tools that have good valuable for building up grip strength but athletes also must focus on grip endurance.  Battle ropes, kettlebells, macebells are all great tools to start for building up grip endurance.

Sometimes I see MMA fights where a fighter that works very hard for a guillotine sometimes has his/her arms wear out and they instantly get in trouble especially if they get stood back up. This is a scary place to be.  You can have the strongest grip in the world but if your gripping muscles get fatigued and you can't grip, you're in trouble.  This not only happens in MMA but I see it happen in Judo and BJJ as well.  I think it is important for athletes to have well conditioned gripping muscles so they can recovery quickly from these types of executions.  

I earlier shared Martin Rooney's Bar Complex which is also a great way to build up grip endurance.  If you have not checked this article out please see my link below.

Martin Rooney's Bar Complex

Video below demonstrates a great way to build up grip endurance.  A Towel or part of an old judo, BJJ uniform will also do the trick.