Exercise of the Week: Bowler Squat to J-Band Y

About the Author: Eric Cressey

This week’s exercise of the week is the brainchild of physical therapist Eric Schoenberg, who works out of Cressey Sports Performance – Florida. When I first saw him implementing it with a patient, I immediately thought, “How have I never thought of it?” You see, this drill actually combines two of my favorite exercises: the bowler squat and the J-Band Y. In doing so, we get an awesome arm care exercise that integrates single-leg balance and hip mobility.

The bowler squat component delivers a triplanar challenge to the glutes, as you have to eccentrically control hip flexion, adduction, and internal rotation on the way down – and it’s actually overloaded in the transverse plane by the pull of the band. Here are some coaching cues and notes:

1. The upper arm should be at about a 135-degree angle to the torso so that it’s in the line of pull of the lower traps. The upper extremity action should actually be driven by scapular movement into posterior tilt.

2. Most athletes should start with a J-Band Jr. before proceeding to a regular thickness J-Band.

3. As the athlete approaches the bottom of the movement on the lowering phase, he should try to get more hip motion than upper back motion. Although both are necessary, we’ve seen a lot of athletes who jump dump over into thoracic kyphosis (rounding) when they start to struggle. In other words, use the hips to deliver the hands.

4. The head should remain in line with the body to preserve a neutral cervical spine.

5. I generally prefer this to be done barefoot or in minimalist sneakers, like I’m wearing. It can be helpful to cue the athlete into “tripod foot” or tell them to “grab the ground like you’re trying to picking a basketball with your foot.”

6. We like this as a warm-up exercise or “filler” between sets of medicine ball work. We’ll program it for sets of 8-10 reps on each side.

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