Shoulder-Friendly Core Exercise

Posted on by Ben Bruno

Today I want to share a core exercise that I’ve recently started using with myself and my clients: suspension strap fallouts. Only I’m doing them with a little shoulder-friendly twist.

This isn’t a new exercise by any means, but it’s one that I’ve never really done because I’ve usually gravitated towards rollout and/or bodysaw variations.

The normal suspension strap fallout progression is to start with the straps around waist height and extend until your arms are straight overhead. As you improve, you lengthen the straps and extend out further, progressing until the straps almost touch the floor—which resembles the starting position of a standing ab wheel rollout (only the suspension strap version is easier).

There’s certainly nothing wrong with that progression, but one of my clients has a strong core, but he was finding that rollout variations were bugging his shoulder as he extended his arms out way overhead.

To work around that problem, I started having him walk back at the starting position so he begun several feet behind the anchor point of the straps. This makes it makes harder and makes it such that you don’t have to extend your arms out nearly as far to get the same challenge for your core.

Can I get a “Yeah Buddy!” on that?

After watching him do them for a few months and hear him talk about how they were lighting up his abs, I decided to do them that way too. With my own training, I don’t get shoulder pain from rollout variations, but I do find that they can be taxing on the shoulders, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can be tricky sometimes because I normally do my core work on upper body days so I find that they interfere with my heavy upper body strength work.

Doing them this way takes a ton of stress off the shoulders while actually making it significantly harder for the core. Considering I do fallouts mainly for core and not for shoulders, I now like this way better, and it works better in my training split since I can do them on upper body days without having it mess up my other lifts.

Another plus is that it keeps constant tension on the core. With normal fallouts and rollouts, the core is stressed at extension, but not at the starting point. Here, because you’re starting behind the anchor point, the starting point is still hard. I like to pause on both sides of the rep and hold for a moment.

Here is what it looks like in action. I filmed myself getting into position too so you can see how to set up.

As you can see, there isn’t a whole lot of range of motion at the arms, but trust me, they’ll light your core like crazy if you’re doing them correctly. The further you walk back, that harder it’ll be and the less you’ll need to extend out with your arms. That being said, only walk back to the point where you can still control the movement—meaning you aren’t arching your lower back excessively. If you start to feel them in your lower back, you’re doing it incorrectly. Although it might not look like it, I’m actually doing a pretty advanced version in the video, which is to say a little bit goes a long way.

If regular rollouts and fallouts give you shoulder pain, or if you’re looking for a new way to work the core through anti-extension without fatiguing your upper body, give these a try.

For more videos, remember you can always check out my You Tube page, which I’ve been updating a lot recently.

In line with the joint-friendly idea, remember that Dean Somerset’s Post Rehab Essentials 2.0 is only on sale for a few more days, so definitely check it out while the price is right (check out my write-up here).

And if you missed my post yesterday about My Current Training, check that out as well. Interestingly, it was actually my most viewed post in almost a year in just one day.

  • Oleg Tikhomirov

    YEAH BUDDY!

  • Michael

    Ben, would you start these out on the knees like normall rollouts or do you go right to standing because of the small ROM?

    • Ben Bruno

      I would start standing. To regress, shorten the straps and just don’t back very far.

  • Alan Reilly

    Thanks Ben, glad to have this in my toolbox now!

  • Keith

    Ben–you da man. I was just looking for something similar as I fight to return from a shoulder impingement issue. Thanks.