What is the ShoulderSphere?
The ShoulderSphere is a patented exercise device invented by orthopaedic surgeon, Win Chang, MD, to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles. It is currently used by internationally recognized athletes and is available to all those who want to maintain physical fitness and strength of the rotator cuff muscles.
Through its patented process, the ShoulderSphere helps to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles surrounding the shoulder in a functional, multidirectional, manner.
How Does it Work?
How the ShoulderSphere works is based on the body’s natural anatomy. The ShoulderSphere is attached to the wrist via a contoured splint that immobilizes wrist motion. Inside each ShoulderSphere is a small ball that varies in weight from 2 to 7 ounces. With the wrist locked in position, the rotator cuff muscles are effectively isolated to do nearly all of the work when the user spins the ball within the ShoulderSphere. The rotator cuff muscles are not being properly strengthened when the ball in the sphere is bouncing because of interference from the elbow. It is only when the ball is spinning in the sphere that the ShoulderSphere is being used properly. This ability to focus exclusively on the rotator cuff muscles makes the ShoulderSphere more efficient and effective than any other current exercise devices in strengthening the rotator cuff muscles.
A ShoulderSphere workout demands concentration with bursts of intense neuromuscular proprioceptive movements that engage multiple muscle groups in a synergistic fashion, making exercise of the rotator muscles more challenging and fun than the monotony of drawn out, unidirectional, non-proprioceptive weight lifting routines.
How is the ShoulderSphere Different From Other Rotator Cuff Exercises?
The ShoulderSphere is uniquely different from other rotator cuff exercise methods because it strengthens the rotator cuff muscles through ROTATIONAL movements of the shoulder rather than current LINEARLY based exercises of the push, pull, lift and press movements in one direction only. These UNIDIRECTIONAL workouts focus on concentric contractions of only one muscle group at a time. The MULTIDIRECTIONAL and ROTATIONAL workouts with the ShoulderSphere train both concentric and eccentric muscle contractions while simultaneously using multiple muscle groups.
Is the ShoulderSphere Safe to Use?
Yes, the ShoulderSphere is safe to use. It is designed for the user to generate his or her own kinetic energy, creating a centrifugal force by making the ball spin. The velocity of the spin can be adjusted by the user at will (therefore controlling the level of the intensity of the workout).
The ShoulderSphere does not try to overcome any external force such as weight lifting, where either the weight moves or the shoulder gives out. This makes weight lifting potentially hazardous.
With the ShoulderSphere, injury is unlikely when spinning a ball that weighs merely ounces. The intensity of the workout is limited by the user’s ability to spin the ball, and is not determined by any external weight that the user has to overcome.
Is the ShoulderSphere Effective?
The ShoulderSphere is effective, because as a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, the ShoulderSphere strengthens the shoulder’s weakest link, the rotator cuff muscles, so the shoulder’s overall strength and endurance will improve.
Depending on the baseline level of fitness, volunteer test subjects have shown up to a 20% increase in shoulder strength after two months of selective strengthening of the rotator cuff muscles while training on the ShoulderSphere. Teenage baseball players have demonstrated up to a 5% increase in throwing velocity and swimmers have shown measurable increases in swimming speed after ten weeks of use.
Is the ShoulderSphere Efficient?
The ShoulderSphere is efficient. When targeting a particular muscle for strengthening, greater efficiency is achieved by greater selective isolation of that particular muscle for training over the same period of time. An efficient workout translates into smart training.
Needle electromyographic studies of maximal rotator cuff muscle contractions while using the ShoulderSphere compared to vibratory oscillatory devices have shown the ShoulderSphere to be much more efficient for rotator cuff training.
At maximal intensity of workout, the electrical muscular signals have shown 50% slower contraction velocity with the ShoulderSphere than with vibratory oscillatory devices. Slower contraction velocity means MORE effort is required by the rotator cuff when using the ShoulderSphere than with the vibratory device because MORE selective isolation of the rotator cuff is achieved with the ShoulderSphere workout than with the vibratory device. Only 6-8 times per second of rotator cuff muscular contraction can be achieved with the ShoulderSphere at maximal effort compared to 12-14 times per second with the vibratory device.
Unlike vibratory oscillatory devices which do not focus on the rotator cuff, the ShouldSphere exercises the rotator cuff muscles exclusively.
ShoulderSphere workouts are efficient. The user only needs to train half as long to get the same result, or better yet, get TWICE the benefit during the same period of time of workout than when using vibratory oscillatory devices for rotator cuff training.
With the ShoulderSphere, the advantage of focused rotator cuff strengthening is isolation of the rotator cuff.
How is the ShoulderSphere Different from Elastic Band Exercises?
Rotator cuff strengthening programs typically involve the use of elastic bands, where the different rotator cuff muscle groups are isolated by changing the direction of pull of the elastic band. Intensity of a band workout is adjusted by different band thicknesses and is largely a linearly driven movement in concentric mode only, with no proprioception training.
The ShoulderSphere workout is rotationally based. To effectively spin the ball in a smooth fashion, obligatory contractions in rapid sequence is needed by all the rotator cuff muscles surrounding the shoulder simultaneously in a well coordinated fashion, both concentrically and eccentrically. Strengthening of the rotator cuff is coupled with neuromuscular proprioceptive training.
With the ShoulderSphere, the intensity of the exercise can be regulated by varying the spin velocity during use. Additional adjustments of levels of workout can be done by selecting different combination of size of the sphere and weight of the ball.
What are Concentric and Eccentric Muscular Contractions?
Concentric contraction is muscular contraction with muscle fiber shortening. Arm curls with the biceps are concentric contractions. Eccentric contraction is muscular contraction coupled with muscle fibers stretching. This is the “braking” muscle mode of contraction. Bending of the knee while walking down the stairs involves eccentric contraction of the quads to prevent the knee from buckling. The shoulder, when involved with high velocity throwing sports, in order to minimize injury with excessive abnormal anterior shoulder movement at the termination of overhead throw, the posterior rotator cuff muscles need to rapidly contract eccentrically in order to decelerate the forward transitional force created by the strong anterior group of muscles. When there is a mismatch weakness or misfiring of the shoulder external rotator eccentric muscle contractions as compared to the powerful concentric internal rotator muscle contractions during high velocity throwing, the athlete may be at greater risk for shoulder injuries. Studies point to that the weakened and insufficient eccentric contraction at the end of the throw phase allow micro-subluxations of the shoulder joint resulting in tensile failure posteriorly and torn ligaments in the shoulder.
What is Proprioception?
Proprioception is how the body or the muscles adjust to positional changes. In simple terms, it is balance and coordination. Heightened awareness and controlled muscular contractions will facilitate rapid positional changes necessary in shoulder movements among high performance athletes such as pitching the baseball or serving in tennis. Use of the ShoulderSphere will help to improve proprioception of your shoulder.
Who Has Used the ShoulderSphere?
Professional athletes, recreational competitive athletes, weekend warriors, and patients rehabilitating after injury or surgery including rotator cuff reconstruction, as well as total shoulder replacements, have used the ShoulderSphere with great success.
It has been used by 10 year olds all the way up to individuals in their 80s. And you can read reviews for ShoulderSphere to see what the experience is like.
Personal trainers and physical therapists have used it as part of their overall conditioning exercise and rehabilitation programs.
A diverse group of athletes have found the ShoulderSphere to be beneficial in aiding their shoulder performance. From standard sports athletes of baseball, football, tennis, water skiing, and swimming, to the power lifters, cross-fit competitors, body builders, and even musicians, circus performers and pole fitness dancers can all benefit from use of the ShoulderSphere.
What Are the Benefits of Using the ShoulderSphere?
Users of the ShoulderSphere workout program reap a number of benefits.
The ShoulderSphere specifically strengthens the rotator cuff muscles simultaneously in both concentric and eccentric modes in a multi-directional fashion, which is difficult to achieve by current techniques.
The ShoulderSphere is the only device capable of high intensity proprioceptive workout of the rotator cuff muscles that is based on the function of the rotator cuff — rotational movements.
The ShoulderSphere is light and portable. It can be used in standing, seated, or lying down positions. The user does not need to look for an object to tie down as in elastic band exercises. The workout space is defined by the user’s arm length, not by length of the equipment as in vibratory techniques. ShoulderSphere workouts can be done anywhere in any direction the user chooses, not tethered down by bulky equipment such as the arm cycle devices or industrial sized weight lifting machines that, although adjustable, but still restricts freedom of motion of the shoulder during usage.
So, What Does This All Mean?
Since strengthening of the rotator cuff is an integral part in all physical therapy programs, the ShoulderSphere makes a perfect adjunct to all the tools and techniques utilized by physical therapists and personal trainers in rehabilitating individuals from injury or surgery. Well conditioned rotator cuff muscles permit normal daily shoulder functional requirements such as reaching behind the car seat for the grocery bag or reaching up to the top shelf to get dishes down. Stronger rotator cuff muscles should minimize injuries associated with repetitive overhead high velocity throwing sports and other supra-physiologic shoulder events such as the clean and jerk, gymnastics iron cross, or a muscle-up on the bar.
The ShoulderSphere helps to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles in a safe, effective, and most efficient manner. By strengthening this weak link, the overall shoulder strength, endurance and proprioception will improve.
The ShoulderSphere is not meant to build a beach body of big power muscles, but to strengthen the small stabilizer rotator cuff muscles of the shoulder. Just like better tires prevent race cars from spinning out, stronger rotator cuff muscles improve shoulder performance and help to prevent shoulder injuries.
The ShoulderSphere exercise philosophy is based on intelligent training with focused intensity. The ShoulderSphere is about understanding the why’s and how’s of a rotator cuff exercise program in order to train with efficiency and effectiveness.
The Achilles heel of the shoulder is the rotator cuff.
- It will strengthen and train the neuromuscular proprioceptional control of the rotator cuff muscles surrounding the shoulder joint.
- It complements powerlifting workouts for the shoulder thus avoiding shoulder blowout injuries due to strength mismatch between power and stabilizing muscle groups.