Do you have pain in the front of your shoulder?
Why does it occur?
1) Stiffness in the middle back
2) Weakness of the back shoulder blade muscles- middle and lower trapezius
3) Weakness of the Serratus anterior (Google it!) 4) Poor resting posture of the shoulder
How Can You Self-Treat Shoulder Pain?
Mid Back Extension Over a Foam Roller
To better understand shoulder mechanics, let’s do a quick test. First, slouch down and try to raise your arms overhead. Second, sit upright and raise your arms overhead again. Hopefully you had further range of motion while sitting up tall. Why? THE POSITION OF THE MIDDLE BACK DETERMINES HOW MUCH SHOULDER MOTION IS POSSIBLE! Since many people naturally rest in a rounded shoulder posture, the middle back is often slouched. Attempting to lift a weight from this position can place extra stress across the front of the shoulder.
Do this exercise PRIOR to lifting to open the mid back. This will protect the shoulders DURING the workout!
The shoulder blade muscles (in the back) are arguably the most important muscles for raising the arm overhead. One of these muscles is called the Serratus Anterior. It is known as the Boxer’s muscle because they often have strong Serratus muscles from the punching motion.
I often refer to the Serratus Anterior as the glutes of the upper body. Both muscles provide stability to their respective areas of the body and are frequently under-utilized. Without this muscle, the shoulder blade tips forward and limits full arm movement. Dolphin presses are an advanced exercise that work the Serratus Anterior muscle in an overhead position
Chin Nod with Shoulder Flexion
Have you ever noticed how far your head presses forward when texting or working on the computer? The habits we develop while performing repetitive tasks transfer to our habits when we move. As the head moves forward, the shoulders naturally round forward and the middle back slouches. As we discussed in Day 1, THE POSITION OF THE MIDDLE BACK DETERMINES HOW MUCH SHOULDER MOTION IS POSSIBLE!
This exercise keeps the chin tucked as the arms raise overhead. If you notice the head starting to jut forward (think of THE TURTLE COMING OUT OF THE SHELL), extra stress is placed across the neck. Keep the chin tucked against the foam roller as the arms lift.
Rotator Cuff Warm-up with Dowel
Warming up the rotator cuff should be a must for any adult. When you are younger, you can get away with jumping right into a sport or exercise; however, with age the muscles are less elastic and slower to adapt. Warming up the rotator cuff will provide added stability and protect the front of the shoulder while lifting. Using a dowel will ensure that the arms move in a single plane of motion.
All 4's Arm Raises
Before reading this, shrug your shoulders up toward your ears. This engages the UPPER TRAP muscle. Now, draw your shoulders down and together away from your ears. This engages the LOWER TRAP. Both muscles must work together when lifting overhead.
This exercise targets the lower trap muscle. In all fours, alternate raising the arm while drawing the shoulder down and back at the top of the movement. ATTENTION: it is easy to cheat this movement by shrugging the shoulders toward the ears.