The weekly recap is where we share some gems of information about some interesting, and sometimes common, things that we have seen in the clinic or training session throughout the week. We share these real-life treatment strategies, insights, and discussion on how to treat these ailments to get you or a loved one back in action!
I'll probably taper these down to 1 or 2 cases per week so they are quicker and easier to digest. That will also allow me to delve a little deeper if needed.
If your scapula is acting wack, we have a few drills to make it act right. What generally leads me to look at the scapula (shoulder blade) is when people come in with shoulder pain. Usually their biggest pain generator is reaching overhead. If we take a look at their shoulder blade and see excessive winging, malalignment, or restricted motion, we know that we need to correct these things before they will be able to reach overhead pain-free. Motion at the shoulder blade is responsible for 1/3 of overhead reaching, and that is why it is crucial to make sure it is functioning properly.
Try the following exercises to get your wack scap back on track:
1. Pec Minor Release. Restrictions at the pec minor can limit motion of the scapula. Use a small ball to loosen this soft tissue and free up mobility. Do this for 1-2 minutes.
2. Pec Minor Corner Stretch. Follow up the soft tissue work with pec minor stretching. Try a 30 second hold for 3 reps.
3. Serratus Wall Slides. Time to activate an important mover of the scapula: the serratus anterior muscle. Try 2 sets of 10 reps to build awareness and strength in this muscle group. Be sure to keep pressure into the foam roller (or wall if you don't have a foam roller), and reach high overhead at the top. Also focus on keeping the forearms parallel, not allowing your elbows to flare out.
4. Serratus Hugs. Another great exercise to strengthen and teach the body how to use this muscle group. Perform 2x10 reps with a strong band. Be sure to focus on pushing the shoulders forward as far as possible. Try to "hug a large tree trunk."
5. Banded Horizontal Abduction. This exercise will work the mid and lower traps which also help the shoulder blade rotate the way it is supposed to. Our Upper traps are typically strong enough so we need to avoid working the upper traps, and instead focus on the mid and lower. We do this by pinching our shoulder blades down and back "like you are trying to put your shoulder blade in your opposite back pocket. Do 2 sets of 20 reps with a strong band.
Try all these exercises twice per day and you should start seeing improved motion and a decrease in pain!
As always, check out the video below for real clear instructions on how to do this stuff: