CLICK HERE TO GET THE FULL VIDEO OF PART 1 OF THE SHOULDER SERIES: SHOULDER MOBILITY (EXTERNAL ROTATION)
As stated in the video, this is part 1 of a 2 part series that focuses on the shoulder. This segment will cover shoulder mobility, specifically, external rotation. The second part will focus more on shoulder stability. The two rotator cuff muscles that promote external rotation are the infraspinatus and the teres minor (picture posted below), so, for this particular movement, these muscles are called the agonists. The primary antagonists, or muscles restricting external rotation, are the subscapiularis, pec major, latissimus dorsi, and the anterior deltoids. To increase our shoulder external rotation, we want to strengthen the agonists, and stretch the antagonists. This will give more balance and mobility to the shoulder, helping to prevent injury.
An internal rotation of the rotator cuff muscles is usually caused by one of two reasons: overuse and/or poor posture. Exercises such as benchpress, shoulder press, front raises, heavy flies, and curls can promote an internally rotated posture. Exercises like rows and Brueggers (exercise shown in video with the band) will promote more scapular retraction (shoulder blades moving towards each other), which will allow for better overall shoulder mobility.
A couple of ways to assess the internal rotation of the shoulder is by comparing the location of the shoulders in relation to the head, neck and thoracic spine in a side view, as well as hand orientation in a resting position. When looking at a person from a side view, we use what is called the Plumb Line for gauging correct posture. The landmarks that should fall on the Plumb Line with correct posture are the ear lobe/opening to the ear canal, the acromian process (bony structure at the highest point of the shoulder), the greater trochanter of the femur (bony prominence at the outer top part of the thigh bone), and the lateral malleolus of the ankle (ankle bone on the outside of the foot).
When looking at hand orientation, the hands should be facing inward toward the hips in a neutral position. For someone with internally rolled shoulders, the hands will face backwards, as shown in the picture.
The importance of muscle balance for shoulder mobility is crucial. Imbalance will cause a lack of centration in the actual shoulder joint, leaving the person more susceptible to injuries. Let’s take a throwing athlete, like a baseball pitcher, for example. If the pitcher lacks the proper biomechanics in his/her delivery, then the force of the action will be applied improperly to another muscle or structure to complete the desired outcome. In this example, if the pitcher has a lack of external rotation, he/she will use more biceps to push the ball, often causing tendonitis of the biceps tendon, or greater external rotation on the elbow and straining the ulnar collateral ligament, which is the ligament involved with Tommy John surgery.
I want to thank everyone for reading our blog and I hope that this is all helpful. I will release the second part of the series next week. In the meantime, assess your shoulder mobility and posture, then work on the recommended stretches or exercises to correct the issue. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions on the topic. I will be happy to answer them. If you are still unsure on execution or volume of the exercises, call the office and let’s get set up for a consultation and an initial exam. To learn more about Bubba Bush and Brazos Valley Mixed Martial Arts & Fitness, go to www.bvfit.com for class schedules and descriptions.