Bodyworks MD: The Shoulder

Dr Mark Klion
Year Released: 2008

Categories: Special Health Conditions

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This DVD was on my Amazon Wish list for a LONG time based on the positive reviews both there and here, and I finally purchased it when the price came down a bit. Unfortunately, I was disappointed; I'll explain the reasons for this after I describe the DVD. To provide some background information on my own shoulder issues, I don't have a specific injury per se. However, I have ongoing nagging discomfort in my right shoulder, most like because it's my dominant side and the side where I use my computer mouse (it definitely feels worse after long stints at my desktop despite my ergonomic setup).

This program is hosted by Dr. Mark Klion, an orthopedic surgeon, and it has an extensive Main Menu as follows:

This short, on-screen question section helps you to determine whether you will be following the Blue Team (easiest/beginner), White Team (intermediate), or Red Team (advanced) for the exercises. It asks questions about things like intensity of pain, difficulties sleeping on the affected side, etc. I had trouble with this, as I have no loss in range of motion and no restriction of movements, which put me in the advanced or Red Team, yet at times, I can have near-constant discomfort, depending on the day. I wound up sometimes following the Blue, sometimes the Red.

This section provides a breakdown of all of the exercises used in the Main Rehab program. It is broken up by the section you chose in the Self-Assessment; since I didn't clearly fit into one category, I wound up watching both the Blue and the Red, which are rather lengthy. The Blue section uses dumbbells, whereas the Red uses a resistance band. (This actually felt backwards too me--i.e., when I tried using both the weights and the band, it was the weights that felt more challenging.)

This is a 25-minute program featuring Dr. Klion leading three background exercisers, one representing each "team." It starts with about 5 minutes of very slow warm-ups and then an additional 5 minutes of slow stretching. The remaining 15 minutes is dedicated to the rehab exercises. As a viewer, you are supposed to be following just one of the exercisers, which is a bit difficult since the camera is obviously moving between all three. Also, it is assumed that you have watched the "Exercise Techniques" section, so none of the exercises is broken down in any depth here. There is no cool-down; Dr. Klion encourages you to do this on your own.

Unlike the Main Rehab program, which targets only the injured shoulder, this 21-minute advanced program targets both shoulders, and it is supposed to be used after you are pain free. Since I have more discomfort than actual pain, I did this routine several times in addition to the Main Rehab. Here Dr. Klion leads the male exerciser from the Main program (why is it that the advanced program is demoed by a male?) through a program that uses a stability ball and two dumbbells.

This 14-minute segment features Dr. Klion being interviewed by Troy Jacobson as he explains the function of the shoulder as it relates to the potential for injury.

Although the Main Menu includes this option, it did NOT work for me. I hated the music--it's loud, kind of jazzy, but more like a bad TV theme--and so I would have loved to turn it off! I was able to figure out how to switch it off during the Main Rehab program by using the audio controls function under the "Titles" menu on my remote, but this did not work for the Advanced program, so I was stuck with the music there.

Okay, here's what I did NOT like about this DVD:
*As noted above, the music.
*The instruction and the actual workout being separately chaptered.
*The three levels being included together under the Main Rehab routine; I found this distracting.
*The style of the Main Rehab routine. There are a small number of exercises performed for five repetitions, and then you do SIX sets of each. Not only did this feel like overkill to me, but also it was extremely boring.
*The length of the Main Rehab routine. I simply could not get myself to devote 25 minutes (plus cool-down time) to this single routine 3-4x/week. I have done other rehab routines that are 15 minutes, which seems much more doable to me.
*The instructor AND the background exercisers. Dr. Klion talked to group like they were kindergartners--e.g., one warm-up exercise was arm rotations, and he called these "whirly birds." Come on! And the background exercisers were so stiff and wooden that it was actually unpleasant to exercise along with them.
*The results, or lack thereof. Maybe this is related to my specific type of problem--which is probably more of a repetitive strain issue than an actual injury--but even when I did do the Main Rehab routine regularly, I didn't find it to be helpful to me.

I am disappointed that this DVD wasn't more useful for me. I will go back to using my other rehab DVDs on a more regular basis; these include Total Body Solution with Debbie Siebers and Rehab Your Body at Home by JB Berns.

Instructor Comments:
As noted above, I wasn't crazy about Dr. Klion. He seemed too scripted and too much like he was talking to a group of children. He gave few form pointers during the actual workout, and the ones he did give, I didn't like (e.g., "work hard, but don't kill yourself").

Beth C (aka toaster)


Bodyworks MD: The Shoulder is one in a series of home rehabilitation DVDs for injured athletes available from the Spinervals site. The other DVDs in the series cover the knee, back and ankle.

Hosted by Dr Mark Klion, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon, Bodyworks MD: The Shoulder provides a comprehensive program for rehabbing shoulder injuries. The DVD is conveniently chaptered from the main menu.

Self-Assessment: This section asks questions about the frequency and intensity of your pain, whether you have trouble sleeping on your injured side, and the strength and range of motion in your injured shoulder. Your answers determine whether you will be on the Blue Team (easiest), White Team (intermediate) or Red Team (the most challenging).

Exercise Techniques: This section provides an overview of the exercises in the Main Rehab Program, as well as the equipment you will need. Blue Team members will need a heating pad and a dowel stick; White Team members, a height-adjustable table or chair to assist stretching, and a light weight; and Red Team members, a resistance band and/or tubing, a wall with a protruding corner to assist stretching, and a light weight.

Advanced Strengthening Program: This is a 21-minute shoulder strengthening program to use once you are pain-free. It requires a stability ball, a towel or strap for stretching, and dumbbells.

Shoulder Anatomy and Injuries: Troy Jacobson interviews Dr Mark Klion, who uses an anatomical model of the shoulder to explain how the shoulder functions and can become injured.

Main Rehab Program: This is the body of the DVD, a 30-minute program of stretching and strengthening exercises.

At the beginning of the Main Rehab Program, Dr Mark introduces the participants who are wearing colour-coded T-shirts: Melissa, a professional indoor cycling instructor, on the Blue Team; Paul, a licensed physical therapist, on the White Team; and Britney, a group exercise instructor and personal trainer, on the Red Team. All three go through the program together, as Dr Mark walks around offering form pointers and encouragement. I really like this set-up the producers recognise that injured athletes may feel isolated and miserable, and feeling as though you are part of a team is encouraging. This arrangement also allows people on the Blue and White teams to see how their rehab program will progress.

The three exercisers are not seasoned DVD performers and it shows. Melissa plays the part of an injured athlete a little too convincingly and looks like a sick cat; Paul grins goofily at the camera throughout the entire workout; while Britney spends most of the session looking as though she's trying not to laugh, then after Dr Mark corrects her form, looks as though she's in a snit. This is what happens when you ask friends and acquaintances to star in your workout DVD!

After a five-minute warm-up, there are two stretching exercises, followed by six strengthening exercises. A countdown clock shows for each exercise. After the workout, Dr Mark recommends some light stretching and the use of an ice-pack if you're sore. He recommends that you use the DVD three to four times a week.

The verdict: Both myself and my husband have had very good results from using this DVD, and I would strongly recommend it to anyone with a shoulder injury. While expensive, it is also very comprehensive, and would take you from the early stages of an injury to the post-rehab phase. Apart from the less-than-polished performances of the three exercisers, the DVD has high production values.

Instructor Comments:
Dr Mark Klion is very personable and reassuring, and comes across as genuinely caring.