Shoulders, Mo-Stability, Isolated-Integration and the ProBar.

Shoulders, Mo-Stability, Isolated-Integration and the ProBar.

It is well documented that the shoulder pain or injury is the primary reason for lost time in the gym.  The shoulder is the most complex joint in our body and has the largest degree of motion.  This fact, coupled with the fact that ~80% of the movements we perform in the gym load the shoulder.   Pull-ups, Olympic lifting, even deadlifting, are great ways to explore movement, but some with risk to the shoulder joint.  The evidence is overwhelming.  The good news is that shoulder injuries are avoidable.  The goal of this article is to simplify a complex joint and leave you with real life strategies to boost your shoulder resilience in your patients, athletes and clients while simultaneously introducing you to a great tool that has unique features for shoulder training and rehab.


Understanding Anatomy and Movement Mechanics

An easy way to picture the dynamics of the shoulder is to picture a golf ball sitting on a golf tee.  The tee represents a part of the shoulder blade called the glenoid complex.  The ball represents the head of the humerus.  Now visualize a ring of cartilage around the gold tee.  This would be the labrum.  For Optimal performance of the shoulder to take place, the golf ball must stay centered on the tee.  To some extent, the labrum and other static stabilizers of the provide stability to the shoulder.  However, the majority of the centering process is performed by the muscles in the shoulder joint!


There are 17 muscles that make up the shoulder, 16 muscles that attach to the scapula and the diaphragm.  An imbalance in the mobility, strength, endurance can create an uneven tug of war which can lead to mechanical strain on many structures of the shoulder.  The function of the majority of these muscles is to maintain a proper moving relationship between the golf ball, the “T” and the base which it all sits on, the thoracic basket.  We utilize the term Thoracic Basket opposed to Thoracic cage because of the amount of mobility the ribs and thoracic spine should provide.  This topic could be a year worth of articles in itself.


Maximizing MoStability

Optimal mechanics of the shoulder depend on a balance of mobility and stability termed here as “MoStability.”   Key regions requiring mobility and pliability in the shoulder girdle include the lats, pecs, and joint capsule.  Stability is when there is proper strength, endurance and motor control and this is provided by the rotator cuff, serratus and other parascapular musculature.  As you can see, MoStability is a dynamic function and requires all the anatomy fo the shoulder to work as a team.  The key is to train the whole shoulder complex while biasing stress and strain towards a chain or group that requires additional strengthening or mobility.



Movements that utilize the upper extremity in a way that represents function while biasing load towards the shoulder anatomy is termed Isolated-Integration.  While initial or post surgical rehab may required isolated corrective exercises, but it is beneficial to work towards more complex, but appropriate full kinetic chain movements.  Think of it this way.  What good are the individual portions of an orchestra if they can’t play together?


Building Blocks

Utilizing building blocks allows us to generate intelligent program that is individualized and fits into any performance and rehabilitation system.  The ProBar building blocks are Prime and Prep, Resilience, and Restorative.

Prime and Prep Exercises get the shoulder ready to perform by mobilizing what is tight and activating what is turned off.  The twist and pull mechanism of the ProBar allows us to train the shoulder in the context of challenging conditions while facilitating a co-contraction.  Great example of Prime and Prep exercises that help teach the shoulder to “Stack and Pack” are the ProBar shoulder 360 and the ProBar Overhead Press and Pulldown.  When the ProBar’s twist and pull mechanism are engaged these it makes these traditional exercises safer and more effective!  Add 5- 10 reps prior to training or in between sets of upper body movements.

Resilience exercises are accessory movements that can be performed on off days or after a training session.  They are meant to improve the qualities of the local tissue (muscle strength, endurance and coordination) in our to improve the capacity of the shoulder in the long run.  It is especially important to add residence to the rotator cuff.  The ProBar Shoulder abduction with external rotation and sidelying shoulder abduction movements take advantage of the leverage or torque resistance the short configuration of the ProBar offers.  Feeling is believing with this exercise.  Simply add 2 or 3 sets of 10-15 reps to dial in the rotator cuff.

Resiliency programs help to maintain balance and symmetry in our bodies. These are great as post-workout or off-day activities, created to enhance our bodies’ adaptive responsiveness. The ProBar’s twist and pull adds an additional challenge for our bodies helping us access deeper and more targeted areas of mobility.  Performing these movements post exercise or activities will keep the shoulders feeling light and mobile.


The health and performance of the shoulder is like a wonderful symphony.  It requires lots of different sections working together simultaneously.  Utilizing the principles of MoStability and Isolated-Integration along with the unique principle oft resistance that the PorBar offers will take your shoulder program from good to great!