Shoulders

5 Effective J Band Exercises To Improve Shoulder Health And Mobility

j band exercises

If you’re looking to increase strength and mobility to your shoulder muscles, then consider performing some j band exercises.  

Whilst commonly associated with baseball players, such exercises can still offer significant benefits to virtually anyone when it comes to arm health and injury prevention, especially to the rotator cuff muscle group.  

What Are J Bands?

J bands were originally designed for baseball players and are a type of resistance band which have a carabiner at the centre and a loop with a wrist cuff at either end.  

The carabiner is designed to be anchored to a suitable point to allow the user to perform specific exercises which help to strengthen and condition the shoulder muscle groups.  

They can be used on the playing field, at the gym or in the comfort of your home.  

They are available in different colours.  However, unlike typical resistance bands, these colours are not representative of different levels of resistance.  

Instead, a buyer may choose to purchase bands which match their favorite baseball team colour.  


Recommended Reading – 5 Targeted Pitching Strength Exercises To Boost Throwing Power


Baseball players would typically make use of them as part of their rotator cuff exercise program.  This is because injuries are commonplace to this muscle group, especially to a baseball pitcher who would regularly perform a throwing motion when pitching a ball, potentially putting the muscles of the rotator cuff under a lot of stress.   

However, shoulder injuries are not exclusive to baseball and softball players.  In fact, as the shoulder joint is very mobile with a wide range of motion, little protection is offered by the surrounding muscles when compared to other joints within the body.  

Overuse of the tendons is very common, especially as we age meaning that shoulder injuries are very common amongst the general population.  

J Band Exercises

 If you suffer from reduced mobility and often find your shoulders feel stiff and uncomfortable, then incorporating some j bands exercises into your workout can help to prevent injuries to this delicate joint and improve mobility and strength to the rotator cuff muscle group.  

Below we recommend a highly effective J band routine.

Before starting, make sure to anchor the clip at a safe place and never in line with your head. 

Forward Fly

The forward fly movement is a great way of working the anterior deltoids helping to improve mobility.  

  1. Start by anchoring your band at around shoulder height. 
  2. With your back to the anchor point, attach the wrist wraps.
  3. Maintain a split stance so that one foot is in front of the other. 
  4. Hold your arms straight out to the sides with palms facing forward.
  5. Slowly bring your arms together and out in front of your chest until your hands meet. 
  6. Keep your arms straight throughout and parallel to the ground. 
  7. Repeat this movement for around 10 reps.

Reverse Fly

The reverse fly is essentially the exact opposite of the forward fly and will activate the posterior delts.

  1. As with the forward fly, the clip placement of your band should be at shoulder height. 
  2. Face towards the band and attach the wrist cuffs. 
  3. Take a step away from the anchor point to create a heavier tension to the band.
  4. Maintain a split stance and hold your arms out straight in front of you, there should be some resistance.
  5. Keeping your arms straight, slowly pull them out to your sides and squeeze at the shoulder blade.  
  6. You should feel a stretch across the back of your shoulders. 
  7. From here, allow your arms to return to the starting position and then repeat for 10 reps.

Internal Rotations

Internal rotations are a perfect addition to any shoulder mobility workout program and will help to improve overall arm strength and improve stability to the shoulder joint.

This exercise is often incorporated into physical therapy sessions.  

  1. Anchor the band at waist height and stand side on to it.  
  2. Attach the cuff to the hand closest to the anchor point. 
  3. Keep your elbow tucked in and slowly pull the j band across your body.  
  4. Tension should increase as you stretch the band. 
  5. Perform 10 reps and switch sides to work the other shoulder.

External Rotations

External rotations are the opposite of internal rotations and will activate the infraspinatus muscle (a small muscle of the rotator cuff muscle group).  

  1. As with external rotations, anchor the band at waist hand and stand to the side of the anchor point. 
  2. Attach the wrist wrap to the hand furthest away from the anchor point. 
  3. Keep your elbow into your side and slowly pull out and away from your body. 
  4. Perform 10 reps and switch sides to work the other shoulder.

Forearm Extensions

Aside from targeting the shoulder muscles, this exercise is also a convenient way of activating the forearm and triceps muscles.  

This movement is a bit like a reverse skull crusher whilst maintaining a standing position. 

  1. Anchor your band to just above waist hand.  
  2. With your back to the anchor point, attach the wrist cuffs. 
  3. Take a couple of steps forward to create tension in the band and then maintain a lunge position. 
  4. Bring your arms up and overhead then bend at the elbows so your upper arms drop behind you, as though performing a triceps extension exercise. 
  5. From here bring your upper arms up and over head by only bending at the elbows.  
  6. Once locked out at the elbows, return lower the forearms back and behind before repeating for 10 reps.

Conclusion

If you spend much of your day sitting at a computer, it’s common for the shoulders to hunch forwards.  

Overtime, this leads to reduced mobility to the shoulders, leading to poor posture and low back pain.  

By focussing on shoulder specific exercises using your J bands, you can alleviate these symptoms. When used correctly, J bands can be a great tool to work the shoulders and improve strength and mobility.  

Remember, you don’t have a be a softball pitcher to get the most of these fantastic training aids.   

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