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Wobble Boarding for Shoulder Stability?

Hurray for Research Wednesday!!

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 I 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-

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

Test Group :

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 dislocated their shoulder


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 dratically with position awareness as compared to the control group. The uninjured shoulder improved faster than the previously dislocated shoulder.

This is great news

Not only can you make gains with improving your shoulder (and thus hand) positioning with this rehab, but it also shows that if you are UNINJURED, you make even MORE improvement!! How awesome.

You don't need to buy the exact tools used in this study to make an improvement... You can just use a wobble disc, a bosu ball, or whatever you can make at home (Cheap Way: Stool surface and 1/2 of a pool ball!)

The first 5 people who shoot me a photo of you having fun with this (modifications make things fun) try other upgrades to make this even harder or more difficult and I'll send you a FREE copy of my ebook. Shoot those to (

A wobble disc (shown below) are those round air filled plastic things that you might see at your local gym. Similar to a wobbleboard, which is made of a hard platform with a round knob or wedge shape on the base. The same benefit can be done with a bosu ball however I prefer these smaller items as you need better balance and the cost is lower for home use. This disc runs upwards of $24 and the board might be slightly higher with $45 out of the question if it is made of wood. Useful for a wide variety of situations, this disc is great for many self-care situations such as standing on one leg on it while doing boring shoulder rehab. I digress-

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 shoulder 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 found that the athletes made large gains in strength at end range of motion near dislocation.

An athlete in upper-body wobbleboard position, balancing on the Swiss ball and stabilizing the wobbleboard by active movement at the shoulders. Photo Rights: Elsevier Publishing


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.

Kralinger, F. S., Golser, K., Wischatt, R., Wambacher, M., & Sperner, G. (2002). Predicting recurrence after primary anterior shoulder dislocation. The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 30(1), 116–120.

Paxinos, A., Walton, J., Tzannes, A., Callanan, M., Hayes, K., & Murrell, G. (2001). Advances in the management of traumatic and atraumatic multidirectional shoulder instability. Sports Medicine, 31(11), 819–828.

Note: Ebooks will only be sent to the first 5 climbers who have come up with fun upgrades to this exercise. Your image rights are waived upon emailing it to us and they can appear in any blog post with credits to you in any photo captions. In trade, we will post ALL photos sent that do not have nudity, ludeness or cruelty in them (muscle cruelty is of course a game on). Make them challenging, keep in fun and bonus points for great photography!

-Dr. Lisa

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