Shoulder Rehab: Bands, Weights or Bodyblade?
Updated: Mar 4, 2021
Shoulders are a common source of movement dysfunction and the cause of this is poor mechanics. Over the years these mechanics can finally lead to pain and bring someone to a professional to help. Now, this page is not on how to treat anything but geared towards education on the science to help YOU help yourself not need treatment; to help you build a better and stronger body.
So BEFORE we get to pain what can we do to keep those shoulders healthy? Remember, the best treatment plan is prevention and the way we care for our bodies when they're healthy plays a huge role in STAYING healthy.
There's a lot of different options out there when it comes to workout equipment and movement selections and the choosing can feel a little over whelming. Not all equipment or movements are created equal and our selection of these play a role in how our body adapts so making an informed decision is the first step.
The topic for this post is the difference between resistance bands, light weights and the Bodyblade for training shoulder strength. There have been studies done examining the effects of all 3 of these individually and a combination of these components compared to one another. Like all things in life there is no 1 right thing, a combination of tools, methods and movements is your best bet for those shoulders.
So what does the science tell us?
The Bodyblade does lead to more muscle activation and the science is showing promising in its role in increasing upper extremity proprioception (your body's ability to know where it is in space). However, the Bodyblade relies on high velocity muscle contractions which means a few important things for movement consumers.
First, a base level of strength and coordination is best when working with this tool and it will take some getting used to. Second, the science is leaning towards a lack of eccentric muscle contraction when using the body blade.
Quick physiology lesson here!
Our muscles have 3 main types of contractions: concentric (when they're getting shorted), eccentric (when they're getting longer) and isometric (when there is not change in length at all). All 3 of these play different roles and we need all 3 of them for proper function. Concentric muscle contraction are muscles working to oppose gravity and eccentric muscle contractions are muscles working to control against gravity. Eccentric contractions are how muscles decelerate and this is what makes this type of contraction really important in injury prevention.
So, now that we understand that difference it is clear where the Bodyblade falls short in building well rounded muscles. This doesn't mean that it is no good! The body blade is an awesome tool for training stability in the shoulder.
Now bands and weights are another important tool for training shoulders and they offer plenty of different ways to train eccentrically. Bands and weights also offer a wider variety of workout options and you can move them as fast (or as slow) as you want to.
So the moral of the shoulder training story? Seek out diversity in your training plan and implement different types of tools in order to train different things!
Biel, A. (2019). Trail guide to the body: A hands-on guide to LOCATING muscles, bones, and more / Andrew BIEL ; illustrations by ROBIN DORN. In Trail guide to the body: A hands-on guide to locating muscles, bones, and more / Andrew Biel ; illustrations by Robin Dorn (pp. 63-66). Boulder, CO: Books of Discovery.
Parry,, J., Straub, R., & Cipriani, D. (2012). Shoulder- and Back-Muscle Activation During Shoulder Abduction and Flexion Using a Bodyblade Pro Versus Dumbbells. Journal of Sport Rehabilitation, 266-273.