Shoulders are a vital part of our everyday life and almost every sport. What a nagging feeling we can get when injury occurs. And with strong, stable shoulders, we can accomplish so much.
For now, we will focus on the rotator cuff. I cannot in good conscience talk about another part of the shoulder until the rotator cuff is strong and working properly! I can’t!
The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles. The infraspinatus and teres minor help to externally rotate your humerus (your upper arm bone). This means the bone is rolled toward the back of the joint.
The supraspinatus lies on top of the scapula (shoulder blade) and helps to begin lifting the humerus and holds this bone in a resting position (when it’s still). The subscapularis muscle is behind the scapula and internally rotates the humerus, meaning it rolls the bone forward in the joint.
When they are all active and working properly, they keep the humerus in the centre of the joint and allow smooth movement. You can do so much more with a stable shoulder, and your chance of injury is much less.
The rotator cuff is often injured when the arm is outstretched and holding weight. Even reaching into the back seat of the car and lifting a light object can hurt if the muscles don’t function well. Lifting something too fast or not in good posture can also hurt your rotator cuff.
General wear and tear on your shoulder can cause breakdown, as well. Old sports injuries can come back to haunt us.
The most common place to feel pain is in the side of the arm, in the deltoid. This generally means that this muscle is overworking to compensate for the underactive rotator cuff, specifically the supraspinatus. An achy arm can really benefit from training the rotator cuff, without even touching the arm.
I strongly encourage everyone to work on their rotator cuff for either pre-hab (prevention of injury) or rehab. Any shoulder injury can benefit from working this group of muscles. I like to make sure they are either part of the warmup or performed one to two times a week as part of an exercise routine.
In the video you will see the basic exercises, as well as some advanced versions. These exercises are very specific and require concentration. I also added exercises for keeping the shoulder blade moving smoothly. A tremendous bonus for any sore shoulder.
Posture is key when it comes to the shoulder. Shoulders that sit forward are prone to injury. The upper back also becomes overstretched and the ribs are not in optimal alignment for good breathing.
To compensate for the forward shoulder position, the neck must realign to maintain good eyesight. So you can see, having good shoulder positioning can help with upper back and neck pain. Focusing on the rotator cuff can help keep the shoulder in a secure place, and prevent the domino effect throughout the body. Once you have a stable shoulder, you can work on getting boulders for shoulders.