Do Crossover bands really work?

Jake Blog, Training Tips

There is not a single person that we’ve introduced to crossover symmetry that hasn’t benefited from it, especially those with ongoing nagging shoulder issues and pain. Crossover Symmetry, in a nut shell, is a rotator cuff and scapular strengthening system using resistance bands and specific exercises to rehabilitate and prevent (prehab) shoulder injuries.

Your shoulder, made up of the humerus, scapular, and clavicle, is one of the most mobile joints in the body, therefore, also one of the most unstable joints. It is this lack of stability that leads to the greatest chance for injury so commonly seen in the shoulder. Additionally, the fact that most of us use one hand for most tasks in daily life leads to a huge imbalance in mobility from your right to left side (brush your teeth with your non dominant hand tonight just for fun). Try the Apley scratch test, pictured below, and see if you don’t notice a huge difference from right to left.

You might also want to talk to your coach about substituting dumbbells rather than barbells for overhead movements, until you see some improvement.

Taking a few minutes to add the crossover symmetry exercises to your day as part of your warm up, at the gym as part of a strength and conditioning program, or as a part of physical therapy program designed to rehabilitate a shoulder injury, will work wonders for your shoulder health, longevity, and performance.

At REP we include Crossover exercises twice a week in warm-ups, but feel free to use the bands to your hearts content!  There are different exercises for activation (pre-WOD: especially on days with overhead shoulder movements, IE anything hanging from the bar, overhead weighted movements, or Handstand Push-ups), recovery (post wod) and straight up strengthening (any time!). 

The full program is shown on the chart that comes with the bands. The slight addition that we’ve made to the protocol based on our coaching education sessions with rockstar Physical Therapist Whitney Welsch, is to use a supinated grip (palms up) whenever possible. If you’re using the bands right, you won’t more than 10lbs of resistance.

Long story short, once the main stabilizing muscles of the shoulder are stronger then they can help to anchor and guide the movement of the shoulder blade, which makes for a more secure shoulder joint, that can express mobility better and tolerate loading. PLEASE, come to class a little early or stay a little afterwards and ask any of your coaches at REP to walk you through the Crossover Symmetry program at any time, once you’ve got it down pat it only takes about two minutes! Do it 2-3 times a week, and in as little as 3-4 weeks you will begin to see and feel the benefits!

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