The goal with stretching is to loosen short tonic muscles. First, let’s focus on stretching the muscles of the chest because this is most likely where the joint needs to be mobilized.
- Place your forearm on a Swiss ball
- Keep your shoulders parallel to the ground and drop your body to the floor.
- When you reach a comfortable stretch, inhale and press the forearm into the ball for five seconds.
- Exhale and move into the stretch again
It is important to note that with this stretch there should be no pain felt in the shoulder joint.
You can also do a similar stretch by placing your shoulder on the ball instead of your forearm and dropping your upper body downward to allow your shoulder blade to move toward your spine.
The second stretch is called the Scratch Stretch:
- Stand with good posture, holding a towel behind your back – top hand facing forward over your head, bottom hand near your lower back facing away.
- Use the bottom hand to pull the towel downward until you feel a comfortable stretch
- Hold that position with your lower arm
- Inhale as you pull upward with your top arm against the fixed resistance of the lower arm
- Hold that contraction for five seconds. Exhale and pull down with the lower arm to further stretch the upper arm
Muscle imbalance can be the result of a developmental deficiency. I blame jolly jumpers and walkers. Your body is connected by what’s called the kinetic chain. This is one big interconnected series of muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones. If one area is weak, other areas of your body are affected.
In order to restore balance in your shoulders have a chiropractor look at your entire body and assess your posture. A well-trained chiropractor will look at everything from the top of your neck down to your toes. Their assessment will provide you with a better understanding of your imbalance and where it originates in the kinetic chain.
Training for Stability and Power
Shoulder and arm dysfunction is commonly a manifestation of instability in:
- Lower body
- Pelvic girdle
Try using functional exercises like face pulls on the cable machine or external rotation movements with dumbbells to strengthen and stabilize the shoulders. Also, medicine ball training works well to integrate the muscles in your upper body with the stronger muscles in your legs and core.
Shoulders and arms work synergistically with the torso and lower body to store energy. Poor training technique leads to shoulder injury. Consult with a Certified Personal Trainer for more information on how to safely complete these exercises.