Proper Shoulder Motion
When we have limitations in our range of motion in a certain body part, the body has predictable negative compensations that it will utilize to complete whatever task is at hand. In past articles, I've mentioned how we will excessively tilt our pelvis and lower back when we have decreased range of motion with hip extension, which can open the door to conditions such as disc herniations or sciatica . There are many common, predictable, negative compensations in other areas of the body as well.
Improper Shoulder Motion with excessive shoulder girdle elevation (shrugging) and corresponding unhappy face
What I'd like to talk about today is the shoulder, or glenohumeral joint. We want this joint to be very flexible, especially when you are looking to raise your arm over your head. Unfortunately, this is a common place to get excessive stiffness because of poor posture, muscle imbalances, and other reasons. When the shoulder is too stiff, you'll end up improperly compensating by elevating the shoulder girdle (without even knowing it) to raise your hand over your head. This will lead to excessive, inappropriate motion of the lower neck, upper back, and the shoulder blade itself. The following conditions are very commonly seen at our chiropractic office in Boynton Beach:
- frozen shoulder
- neck strain
- shoulder impingement
- rotator cuff tear s/strains
Use This Exercise to Improve Your Shoulder Movement
Learn to keep your CORE stable and quiet and only allow your range of motion to come from your shoulder joint, and not your shoulder girdle.
Start very light with this exercise, like 10 lbs. First, get a feel for what it's like to complete this exercise while shrugging your shoulder and popping up your ribcage (BAD). Then, feel what it's like not to allow those things to happen (GOOD). At first you'll probably have to cut off your range of motion to do so, by limiting how far you extend the weight above your head. That's fine, start slow--proper execution is the important thing here. Perform 3 sets of ten repetitions. Once you're able to complete this with full range of motion, then you can start increasing the weight.
In many ways this exercise is the upper body equivalent of the Romanian Deadlift--a fantastic exercise that when performed properly, corrects many poor postural habits and improves stability and flexibility of your body.