The number #1 injury we see in the gym are shoulder injuries. It is the most complex joint in the human body. It has to move in multiple planes of motion freely. If the shoulder lacks full mobility the amount of stress put on the muscles can lead to overuse. Which can cause the development of scar tissue, trigger points, pain, and at times inflammation. Overuse is the biggest contributor to shoulder injuries and they are not easy to fix.
How to fix your shoulders
The 2 basic problems you will have with your shoulder are tightness, and weakness.
Tight shoulders are mainly cause by bad posture, bad training technique, overtraining, lack of movement, scar tissue, and repeating the same movements over a long period of time,
Weakness in your shoulders are caused by lack of strength, overtraining, an injury, tight shoulders, scar tissue, and lack of movement.
1st step is to increase the range of motion in the shoulders in all planes.
This can be done with a foam roller or massage ball followed with a stretching program and then exercises to strengthen the shoulder.
We focus first on recovering and cleaning up the shoulder rotators, shoulder abduction, internal and external rotation as base of movements. As you regain movement in all planes you need to start strengthening next.
Here is a concept we keep in mind when we are working on mobility and strength. Agonist and antagonist muscle concepts. This is a concept which states when a muscle contracts the opposite muscle relaxes. Also, is the base concept of active stretching. Active stretching is the stretching technique we use first to lengthen the muscle after foam rolling it. When you have a tight muscle you first apply a foam roll technique(myofascial stretch) to improve the range of motion of it then you active stretch it. However, it will not stay unless you strengthen the opposite muscle.(The antagonist)
How to strengthen the shoulders.
A very important TIP!!!
A common posture disfunction is forward head position and rounded shoulders. This posture position rounds your back which rounds your T-spine. The shoulder joint is a complex part of the scapular and the scapular is attached to the T-spine, ribs, and arm, by muscles. What this means, if the T-spine movement is compromised this will effect the shoulder joint. This leads to a dysfunctional movement, shoulder injuries, tightness in the shoulder, and loss of strength in the shoulder. The major point to take away from this is although the shoulder is painful, the problem with shoulder started from the bad posture which effects your T-spine which determines the scapular position. Fix your posture, and T-spine first and your shoulder will heal and start to move better.
The 3 dimensional Shoulder
We break the shoulder down to 3 basic parts. The T-spine, shoulder rotators, and deltoids.
The 1st phase and the base of the shoulder correction is the T-spine and scapular.
Our T-spine workout consist of 2 steps.
1. Increasing the flexibility of the chest muscles.(Pectorals major and minor)
2. Using a foam roller or therapy ball to increase the mobility of the T-spine.
The 2nd phase is to strengthening the shoulder rotators. There are 4 rotators with 3 basic movements. Each movement needs to be strengthen.
The third phase of the shoulder is to strengthen the deltoids. The deltoids should be the last of the 3 muscles strengthen.
We use 4 basic exercises the front raise, side raise, a standing cobra A-position, and overhead raise. These exercises helps to correct rounded shoulders and the stronger you become with these exercises the improvement you will see in your posture.
Watch the video below to see some of the exercises we use in this workout.
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