We see a lot of grumbly shoulders, and often these aches and pains can be alleviated with a few simple things… a change in technique, or a bit of extra release in and around the angry area.
As a physio, it can be really frustrating to see clients that have been trying so hard to do the right thing for their bodies, but they’ve just been given poor advice, or they’re the victim of an unhelpful gym culture. The biggest one that gets me is an “overset” of the shoulder blades, where people think “back and down” is the way to go. Unfortunately, “back and down” often leads to gripping in lats and other scapula muscles, excessive thoracic extension and an effective ‘glueing’ of your shoulder blades on to your rib cage. To have optimal function in and around your shoulders, as well as achieving a balance between the deep stabilising muscle system and the muscles in your shoulders that produce your power, your shoulder blades need freedom and space. So the next time you’re at the gym…before you try a chest press, think about your shoulder blades being super light instead of locking them down.
IMAGE 1: poor posture
Having a love for shoulders, means that I tend to get upset when they get neglected. If we remember to stretch, our lower limbs are usually lucky enough to receive some love in the form of a hammie or calf stretch, or a glute release with a spikey ball. But rarely do we give the same love to our shoulder girdle. Particularly due to the way in which we spend our days largely hunched over computers and phones, it’s really time we add some regular stretches to our routine. These are my favourites:
Pec stretch in the door frame. Make sure you’re not letting your shoulder joint pop forward but rather stepping your body through until the stretch comes on.
Good old bow and arrows – I like that this is a dynamic stretch, and really works on releasing your rib cage, muscles around your shoulders and even improving neck mobility – all of which need good function in order to keep those grumbly shoulders at bay.
Stretch for your serratus anterior/subscap/lats: Grab hold of a doorknob (on a closed door –otherwise this won’t end well for you) by reaching one hand across your body, sit back in to a squat with a flat back and then breathe. For an increased stretch, try and look underneath the armpit of the arm that’s stretched out. Always do both sides.
By Gina Kezleman
Should you have any questions about these, or need help with a more stubborn shoulder injury – please call us on 9365 0004 and ask for Gina!