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STOP Shoulder Pain By Focusing On This Overlooked Joint!

Save Your Shoulders!

Posted by Fitness_Oriented - September 7th, 2016

What’s going on Herman Nation! Jeff here again and it has been a LONG time since my last article!

No worries though!  I am convinced this video will MORE than make up for my absence!

In fact, writing an article about this video doesn’t really do it justice.

So I’m going to show you the video first, then I’ll summarize it for you.

ENJOY!  I’ll probably teach you more in this ONE video than Mike Chang has taught you throughout his ENTIRE existence on YouTube.

What Is The Scapulothoracic Joint and Why Is It So Important?

If you can picture a joint between your scapula bone, or shoulder blade, and your ribcage, that would be your scapulothoracic joint.

Essentially, when you raise your arm up over your head, your scapula is doing 4 motions on your ribcage.

It is doing upward rotation, depression, protraction (going forward), and tilting backwards.

When you raise your arm up directly over your head, you are getting 180 degrees of motion, right?

Well, 60 degrees of that motion is coming directly from your Scapula itself!

This is CRUCIAL because if you are not getting proper motion of your scapula, you are at risk of getting a shoulder injury.

Proper movement of your scapula will allow you to not only maintain stability in your shoulder, but also protect important structures in your shoulder, including your biceps tendon and rotator cuff tendon.

So, you REALLY want proper motion of your scapula bone moving on your ribcage.

What Happens If Your Scapula Isn’t Moving Properly On Your Ribcage?

If your scapula bone isn’t moving properly on your ribcage, you could be at risk of numerous shoulder injuries, particularly due to shoulder impingement.

Shoulder impingement will occur when the top part of your humerus, or upper arm bone, is jammed into your acromion, or the edge of your shoulder blade.

In that space, you have structures such as your subacromial bursa, your biceps tendon, and a rotator cuff tendon.

So essentially, if that space is being jammed due to your Scapula not moving properly as you raise your arm, you can get shoulder pain and injuries such as bursitis, tendonitis, or a rotator cuff tear.

Why This Is Relevant To You

Movement of your scapula on your shoulder blade is relevant to you whether you work out in the gym or not.

If you workout in the gym and do any type of overhead activity, it is crucial your scapula is moving properly against your ribcage.

If it is not, you can begin to get shoulder impingement on exercises such as overhead presses, lat pulldowns, or any activity really, such as reaching overhead to get something out of your kitchen cabinet.

Muscles You’ll Want To Target To Improve The Movement Of Your Scapula On Your Ribcage

As you raise your arm up over your head, certain muscles are contracting, while others are lengthening.

Major muscles that are contracting to upwardly rotate your scapula as you lift your arm up over your head include your serratus anterior and your trapezius (particularly, your upper and lower traps).

The upper traps are already strong in many people, so you’ll want to focus on your serratus and lower traps.

I cover all of these exercises in the video shown up above and how to do them….so I’ll just briefly mention them here.

Exercising Your Lower Traps

To exercise your lower traps, the Y exercise in the gym is great.  Lay face down on a bench with 2 light dumbbells and come up in a Y position.  This will retract and depress your shoulder blades, which is what the lower traps do.

Also, the lat pulldown machine just holding it at your chest will target your lower traps, since you’ll be retracting and depressing your shoulder blades.

Exercising Your Serratus

To workout your serratus, a great exercise is the serratus punch.  To do this, you lay on your back with a dumbbell and you get into a starting bench press position.  You then protract your shoulder, or bring it forward so it lifts off the bench.  This is known as the serratus punch exercise.

Stretching Your Rhomboids

Your rhomboids lengthen as you raise your arm over your head and are between your shoulder blades.  To stretch these, get into a figure 4 position with your arms.  Bring one forearm across your elbow and bring that elbow towards your body.

Stretching Your Levator Scapulae

Your Levator Scapulae is a neck muscle that attaches to your shoulder blade.  To stretch this, on the side you are stretching, reach down with that hand.  Then side bend your head to the opposite side and rotate it to the opposite side.  Finally, gently use your free hand to give a bit of an extra stretch.

Stretching Your Pec Minor

Your Pec Minor is a chest muscle that attaches directly to your shoulder blade.  If this muscle is tight as you are raising your arm up over your head, it can cause issues by causing your shoulder blade to tilt forward too much.  To stretch this muscle, go into the corner of a room.  Then raise your elbows higher than your shoulders and put your arms on each wall.  Then lean in with your body.

In Conclusion

Having your scapula move properly against your ribcage is critical if you want to prevent yourself from developing shoulder pain or a shoulder injury.  Having proper scapular movement is not only important in the gym, but outside of the gym when you are performing daily activities.  By strengthening and stretching the above muscles I mentioned, you will be able to better ensure that your shoulders remain healthy so that you can continue to do what you enjoy in life!

I hope this video helped you guys out and that you learned a lot!

If you guys have any ideas for future videos I can do, leave a comment down below and let me know!  Ideas for future videos are always appreciated!

Related Videos:

How To: Shoulder Warm-Up: Increase Mobility & Injury Prevention!


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