The ShoulderSphere® distributed by Oates Specialties is a patented exercise device invented by orthopedic surgeon, Win Chang, MD, specifically to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles. Properly used, this device is an outstanding off-season strengthening device to prepare the shoulder for the rigors of in-season throwing, reducing the risk of injury while increasing strength and endurance.
Shoulder injuries and shoulder pain are among the most common conditions among athletes. The majority of these injuries are caused by conditions related to the rotator cuff and fall into two categories, acute (caused by a traumatic event – such as a fall) or degenerative (such as repetitive stress –as in throwing a ball). While it might be very difficult to prevent a traumatic event – precautionary activities can be taken to protect against repetitive stresses.
The prevention of shoulder injuries requires focus and intent. However, athletes should exert care not to over-train. Putting too much workload on the shoulder, and particularly the rotator cuff, could result in the training, and not the sport, causing injury. With electronic tracking and graduated training levels, The ShoulderSphere® provides an excellent solution for training the rotator cuff.
The ShoulderSphere® concept is simple, but the device is demanding to use. It is attached to the wrist via a contoured splint that immobilizes wrist motion. Inside each ShoulderSphere® is a small ball the user spins within the ShoulderSphere®. With the wrist locked in position, the rotator cuff muscles are effectively isolated and required to do nearly all of the work as the ball spins within the sphere. The ability of this exercise device to focus exclusively on the rotator cuff muscles makes the ShoulderSphere® more efficient and effective strengthening the rotator cuff muscles than other exercise devices in the marketplace today.
The ShoulderSphere® Electronic Tracker provides real time information for an immediate feedback of the power output by the shoulder during use. This Electronic Tracker is perfect for providing measured feedback to athletes who wish to track the performance of their high intensity training.
Training programs using the ShoulderSphere® can be adapted to the athlete’s needs and abilities:
The ShoulderSphere® F2 is designed for athletes who wish to maintain a healthy shoulder for recreational sports/daily activities as well as competitive athletes under age 14 that wish to enhance their performance and prevent shoulder injury. The ShoulderSphere® F2 includes the Personalized Electronic Tracker. The tracker provides real-time and continuous feedback of the power output by the shoulder during the ShoulderSphere use. For example:
ShoulderSphere® Coaching Rings
The Coaching Rings come in a two ring set: The Blue Coaching Ring is 9-1/2 inches in diameter while the Purple Coaching Ring is 12 inches in diameter. These Coaching Rings are for the serious athlete developing power with control. Dynamically moving the arm, while spinning the ball in the Shoulder Sphere, through the Coaching Rings requires intense focus and power with control.
The Coaching Rings are great intermediary training tool for athletes who have mastered the ShoulderSphere® F2 and preparing to advance to the ShoulderSphere® A7. After mastering the ShoulderSphere® A7 the Coaching Rings are superb devices for training movements that require concentration, power, and control.
The ShoulderSphere® A7 is designed to train high level competitive athletes who wish to maintain a healthy rotator cuff while also enhancing their performance. The ShoulderSphere® A7 includes the Personalized Electronic Tracker. The tracker provides real-time and continuous feedback of the power output by the shoulder during the ShoulderSphere® use. For example:
The ShoulderSphere® is a high intensity device meant for exercises of low duration. It is an ideal tool for use after the conclusion of the competitive season to keep the athlete physically active when they are away from their sport and while preparing the arm for their next season. The key to optimizing the health, strength, and endurance of the competitive arm in-season is significantly reflected by how well a healthy base can be maintained throughout the offseason months and how well that healthy base carries over into the season. As a thrower, preserving the health of the rotator cuff and other essential structures of the shoulder is essential to avoiding injury and optimizing performance.
A vital part of optimizing arm health, strength, and endurance during the season is defined during the off-season months. Continued use of the ShoulderSphere® through the off-season can place the athlete at a great advantage when the frequency, intensity and volume of throwing begins to ramp up for the beginning of a new season. It is a great implement to add to developmental off-season strength and conditioning programs because it focuses on the four small but critically important muscles of the shoulder. While traditional weightlifting and cardiovascular training provide many benefits, they often do little to strengthen the complicated assembly of muscles that keep the shoulder joint stable and healthy and that is where the ShoulderSphere® becomes a valuable asset.
The ShoulderSphere® provides a tool not only to strengthen the rotator cuff, but also improve proprioception and rate of force development, however the ShoulderSphere® is not recommended for in-season use when throwing volume, intensity, and frequency have reached their peak. During season its companion product, the Shoulder Tube (can be seen by clicking here) is recommended as a pre and post-activity tool to improve proprioception and blood flow while maintaining strength and flexibility.
A great off-season program is not just about the big muscles that makes one look good, it is critical to continue to focus on an arm care program directed at the scapular stabilizers and rotator cuff muscles to be a healthy and successful thrower. When strengthening the muscles of the rotator cuff it is critical to understand that these four muscles are not powerhouse muscles. Creating movement is not the rotator cuff's main function. The pectoral muscles (pecs), latissimus dorsi (lats) and deltoids play much more significant roles than these four small muscles in moving the arm during the throwing motion. The rotator cuff requires light resistance in order to be properly stimulated, otherwise the more dominant muscles of the shoulder will take over. These dominant shoulder muscles fire by habit if they detect their assistance is needed, especially if the resistance is beyond the capability of the target muscles. The design of the ShoulderSphere® avoids over-recruiting to permit properly targeting the rotator cuff muscles.
As with any strengthening program, the gradual introduction of stress is paramount. Soft tissue must be given adequate time to adapt to the novel stimulus. A physician, physical therapist, trainer or coach should be consulted before beginning any strength and/or conditioning program. If any exercises cause pain, stop doing the exercise and consult a medical professional immediately.
Instructions for ShoulderSphere® use from the inventor, Dr. Chang, videos demonstrating device use, as well as warranty information is available for download on this product page in PDF format.
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