Scapular Tracking for Shoulder Health
Written by Dr. Matt Wiest, DC
This week we are going over some exercises to open up the anterior shoulder to allow for the scapula to trace down and backwards more effectively. It is well known in the fitness world that most individuals have a difficult time engaging their rhomboids, lower traps and SA muscle groups due to excessive sitting, forward hunched posture and less than ideal movement patterns repeated for years and years. Many of us attempt to correct this by adding in more posterior chain work such as bent over rows, upright rows and pull-ups. These exercises can be great tools for neural grooving better movements; however they are also very easy to do incorrectly, simply reinforcing the upper trap and pectoral muscle group involvement.
- Anterior Shoulder Soft Tissue Mobilization – place a firm ball between the anterior aspect of your shoulder and a solid surface (a rig, a bookcase etc.) and move the ball over the pec muscle group, back and forth for approximately 2 minutes covering the width of the muscle belly and lateral to the front of the anterior deltoid as well. For more advanced mobilization, assume the same position and move the involved side shoulder into slow and controlled forward flexion.
- Kettlebell Rotation Drill – lay flat on the ground holding the mobilized shoulder humerus up perpendicular to the floor, with the kettlebell locked and loaded. Keep a flat back on the surface of the floor and trace the involved side scapula along the posterior rib cage, down and back (flat against the floor) into a locked position. Rotate the G-H joint internally and externally, and hold in end range for about 2-3 second and repeat each motion 5 times.
- W-Y-E Shoulder Drill – Place a band around the rig at about shoulder height or 4-6 inches lower. Hold bands with both
hands in front of your body, and trace shoulder blades down and back along the rib cage while still maintaining the extended elbow position. Flex elbows into a row position and externally rotate the GH joint to get into position 1, the W position. Next extend elbows up while maintaining the active lower traps and assume position 2 – the Y position. Next on a 3 count, slowly release back to the starting position.