Improve Shoulder Mobility and Look Like Conan the Barbarian
The ShouldeRök is a modification of the Indian gada, which was used by Kushti wrestlers as a training tool. It builds mobility in the shoulder, chest, arms, and upper back. It also trains movement patterns that are beneficial for many sports. In wrestling and martial arts, it can help with movements like throwing an opponent to the ground.
Training With ShouldeRök
When I first started testing out this unit, I thought it would end up in the corner right after this review. I have enough mobility products in my life. However, it is much more than a mobility tool. The motor pattern required is not like any other exercise.
One of the reasons I enjoy kettlebell swings is that the body has to make the quick switch between tension and relaxation. Once you set the kettlebell in motion, you allow it to rise and then fall back to the ground. Your body relaxes until the moment it has to reverse the momentum.
"The tubular steel handle has light knurling and flaring at the end to assist with grip. A big benefit is that it uses Olympic size plates, which makes changing plates simple and quick."
Similarly, the ShouldeRök requires the reversal of the weight falling to the ground. When the weight hits the lowest point behind the back, it must be pulled up and around. It is the quick adjustment from relaxation to tension that sets elite athletes apart from amateurs. Great fighters are known to have quick switches between tension and relaxation. The kettlebell provides an analogy to the ballistics in jumping, the ShouldeRök provides an analogy to the ballistics of throwing.
An additional benefit is the coolness factor. Enjoy feeling like Conan the Barbarian.
Keys to Success
A key benefit to this tool is that Chris Duffin prepared a library of instructional videos. Some are public, but the in-depth training videos are included with purchase.
Here are some tips I noticed as a beginner. Make sure that the triceps are fully stretched in the back position (i.e., hands are as low as possible). If the triceps are engaged the whole time, it can lead to sore elbows. Again, this is a dynamic motion with both tension and relaxation applied to build the proper patterning.
Quality of Materials
This device is well built and seems well tested. The tubular steel handle has light knurling and flaring at the end to assist with grip. A big benefit is that it uses Olympic size plates, which makes changing plates simple and quick.
Alternatives to ShouldeRök
There are some alternatives that could be used. If you are only interested in the mobility benefits, then kettlebell halos might be a good option. The kettlebell will lack the dynamic feeling as the momentum of the weight is more contained. A sledgehammer, mace, or a full set of heavy Indian clubs could be used similarly to the ShouldeRök. But the biggest disadvantage is that different sizes would be needed to accommodate different levels of training. A ShouldeRök can be used with existing plates and takes up less space.
The ShouldeRök is made in the United States and is of the highest quality. More importantly, it has enough value that I will keep it in my strength training arsenal. It serves as a great tool to build mobility and proper neural patterns. It also is efficient in that you can do all of this and warm-up all at once.
The ShouldeRök is available for $189.99 at KabukiWarrior.com.
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