Using Hanging Band Technique to Build Serious Shoulder Stability

The use of hanging band technique for shoulder rehab and performance gains has become very popular on my various social media accounts and for good reason….this training tool works! While I’ve used this throughout the body, I’ve found the athletes that I work with respond very well to utilizing this tool for the shoulder.

By hanging weights from resistance bands, the instability of the movements is drastically increased. Therefore, the athlete’s neuromuscular dynamic control is greatly challenged. 

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There are three great benefits of hanging band technique:

  • More controlled movement patterns / better technique (as moving fast or uncontrolled will make completion of the lift impossible)
  • Increased proprioceoption demands (making it a great progression in injury rehab for problems related to instability)
  • Strength gains due to the large motor unit recruitment that the exercises demand and increased time under tension

 

Here are a few of my favorite hanging band drills specific for the athlete needing increased shoulder stability, in approximate order of progressions:

Single Arm Press

The single arm press is a great place to start as the athlete can really focus in on the one working arm. Motion is slowed down compared to traditional overhead pressing and as you can see there is some increased stability demands (but not as much as the variations to follow).

 

Hanging Band Press and Overhead Squats

Using a PVC pipe as shown here (or standard barbells or advanced equipment such as the Bandbell) will shock you at how difficult these basic exercises can be with light weight! If your overhead squat is suspect at times, this variation will make you dial your technique in!

 

Behind the Neck Press

Before the internets goes crazy…behind the neck press can be a bad movement for some athletes, but for many this pressing variation will go a long ways towards long term shoulder health and injury prevention. That’s why elite lifters use BTN Press’ all the time. The hanging band variation will let us load this pattern with slightly less weight but still training the neuromuscular system to develop control.

 

Push Press

Physical Therapist Aaron Swanson showed me this variation, which I love in the clinic. The increased bounce from this variation takes stability demands to another level.

 

Bench Press with The Yoak

The Yoak provides an incredibly difficult and versatile tool for stability work. I really like this bench press variation.

 

PVC Overhead with Pertubations

I think when I came up with this variation I must have been mad about something cause it is just mean…but tons of fun if you aren’t the athlete! Having a partner provide extra pertubations while you hold a bar overhead is a killer stability workout. This drill was instrumental in helping this athlete overcome a serious shoulder instability problem and get back to CrossFit.

 

Carry Variations

Anyone whose followed my work for a while knows how much I love carries for rehab and performance. The following videos show some great variations of single arm and double arm carries using hanging band technique.

 

 

For more of the science stuff behind hanging band technique read my friend Joel Seedman’s  article on T-Nation or listen to his talk on the Global Performance Summit.

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