Wobble Boarding for Shoulder Stability
As dislocations are most common in the shoulder joint, and a whopping 70%+ of patients tend to re-dislocate the same region, let’s discuss a great exercise to help stabilize the region. Today we came across a great study on shoulder gains in post dislocation athletes and the improvement that can be made with a wobbleboard or wobble disc : Upper-body wobbleboard training effects on the post-dislocation shoulder.
The research includes a study of 30 athletes, 15 of which had endured a shoulder dislocation (anterior) and a matching amount which had not (the control group). The test included asking the previously dislocated shoulder group to do 1 month of rehabilitation exercises with the wobble board. In a position of a pushup, their hips were to be also supported on a physioball.
14 males and 1 female who had anteriorly dislocated their shoulder within the past 12 months but not closer than 6 weeks prior to testing. 10 subjects had sustained recurrent dislocations and all had received some form of physiotherapy prior to this research.
9 males and 6 females who had not previously undergone a dislocation.
The test group was then given 10 minutes of rehab daily with one day off a week. Using a 75cm Swiss Ball and a 42cm wobble board, the patients were asked to hold themselves up and to maintain what appears to be an plank position while balancing upon the Swiss Ball with their pelvis. The results were tested at the end of 4 weeks.
Standing. Arm to side at 90 degrees with palm facing forward. Randomly over 20 minutes both groups were asked to do 100 reps of 5 random positions near end range in pressing up and back into a pad. This positioning put them near that association with ‘dislocation apprehension‘.
The subjects who had previously undergone a dislocation improved more drastically with position awareness as compared to the control group. The uninjured shoulder improved faster than the previously dislocated shoulder.
Rehab for post dislocation is VERY important to keep it from happening again. Especially in our population. As climbers suffer from shoulder laxity as a whole, the front (anterior) aspect of the shoulder is chronically stretched in overhead and reaching activities. This places YOU at an increased risk of dislocation.
Yes, there are genetic relationships to being ‘overly stretchy’. And some athletes are born without a complete labrum. With this said, protecting your best asset is very important. Regardless of how stretchy you are, increased wobble boarding increases stability and control- which is great for any climber!
Research at the University of Sidney has shown a strong correlation between increasing proprioceptive training and an increase in stability and strength out of the shoulder. They did strength tests pre and post wobble boarding. And they found that the athletes made large gains in strength at end range of motion near dislocation.
Jan Naughton, Roger Adams and Chris Maher. Upper-body wobbleboard training effects on the post-dislocation shoulder. Physical Therapy in Sport 6 (2005) 31–37.