Our Go-To J-Band Exercises
Jaeger bands are a great tool for baseball players, and we use them with our athletes almost on a daily basis. The convenience factor of being able to leave them in your bag, and bring them to the field along with the fact that they are a great tool for warm ups, strengthening the rotator cuff, and teaching scapular control make them invaluable for baseball players.
That being said, you see a lot of young athletes that do not understand what they are doing with the J-bands or the purpose behind the exercises.
Most times these kids are doing more harm than good.
MORE ≠ BETTER
If some is good, more is better, right? Not so fast…
One of the most common mistakes we see is athletes doing way too many reps, despite the fact the manual says not to work until failure.
When it comes to shoulder health keeping the ball in the socket is the name of the game. When the cuff is weak and cannot stabilize the humeral head inside the glenoid that’s when injuries are going to start popping up.
When the rotator cuff is fatigued the humeral will rise superiorly, increasing the likelihood of impingement. Kind of defeats the purpose doesn’t it?
Another very common mistake we see is a complete lack of core control. The majority of athletes that I assess come to us with insufficient anterior core strength and are stuck in a lumbar extension posture. Athletes will then compound this by busting out several reps on the J-Bands cranking on their low back.This posture does not allow for the scapula to upwardly rotate enough to keep the shoulder in a good position and can lead to stress fractures on their spine.
This leads me to our 1st go-to J-Band exercise:
Supine External Rotations
This cuff strengthening variation eliminates the previously mentioned mistake and allows the athlete to align the body in the correct position to get the benefit of the exercise. By lying on the ground and bending the knees it makes it a lot easier to control the core and prevent the excessive lumbar extension. We cue our athletes to flatten their back on the ground to get their lumbar spine closer to a more neutral position.
No Money Drill
One of the most common things I see when assessing our athletes on their first day with us is their scaps not lying correctly on the ribcage. Many young athletes are very weak in the lower trap and their scaps anteriorly tilt and wing out to the side. This drill is great because it activates the lower trap and addresses these issues. We cue our athletes to align their arm with the body to avoid any excessive anterior tilt and to pinch the scaps down and back.
Band Overhead Squats
I stole this exercise from an Eric Cressey blog post from a month or so ago about non-traditional J-Band exercises. In it he explains how keeping tension on the band while the athlete goes through the squat is great for activating the lower trap. This exercise can address the same scapular issues as the No Money Drill as long as the athlete can control their core and not excessively arch their low back.
Jaeger, Alan. "Jaeger Sports In The News :: Jaeger Sports." Jaeger Sports In The News :: Jaeger Sports. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Apr. 2017.
Gentilcore, T. (2011, September 21). Training Rotator Cuff to Fatigue = FAIL! Retrieved April 08, 2017, from http://tonygentilcore.com/2011/09/training-rotator-cuff-to-fatigue-fail/