Friday, August 2, 2013

Strengthening Other Parts of our Bodies is Essential #physicaltherapypost

Lately I have been seeing a lot of patients with shoulder issues - especially impingement. If left untreated this often leads to a tear of the rotator cuff. Continued improper movement of the glenohumeral joint (the ball and socket) because the scapula isn't mobilized can cause this. This tends to be very prevalent in the mid 40s to mid 50s age group. However, anyone can have this happen.

Signs of impingment are weakness in the rotator cuff, pain around the shoulder, possibly shooting pain down your upper arm, and limited range of motion when lifting the arm at your side and trying to reach behind your back.

When we lift our arm in the air our shoulder blade should rotate slightly to allow for full range of motion.
When the shoulder blade becomes bound down and isn't rotating this can cause a lot of pain in the shoulder. Many people don't realize it has to do more with the strength and flexibility in the rotator cuff AS WELL AS the posterior shoulder muscles.

Included are these muscles:

1) Rhomboids

2) Deltoids

3) Trapezius

4) Levator Scapula

5) Serratus Anterior

6) Latissimus Dorsi

A lot of people work their biceps, tricpes, lats, pecs, rhomboids & delts. You are indirectly still working the other muscles I listed, however there are specific ways to work those and isolate them as well. I will show you exercises for each of the 6 muscles I listed above as well as some specific exercises to help mobilize the scapula.

Working the Rhomboids, Delts, Trapezius & Lev. Scapula:

This targets mainly the rhomboids, however you do work 
the posterior deltoid and mid-trapezius as well.

These are called Ys, Ts, Ws & Ls as the picture states.
These exercises can be done on an incline bench like she is using
or lying on a bed - which makes it harder or on a stability ball.
These get the trapezius, rhomboids, posterior delts and rotator cuff. 
Use weights for added benefit.

This gets the superior deltoid and levator scapula.

Working the Serratus Anterior:
 This is a push up with a plus. As you come up you push a 
little extra which makes your back round up. You have just
jutted your shoulders forward to create this.

Another way to work the serratus anterior muscle.
Keep your elbows straight and push your shoulder
up towards the ceiling. You can also do this with both
arms at the same time.)

Working the Lats:

Pull-ups and Lat Pull Downs are great ways to
work this muscle. Pull ups work may muscles,
where as the pull down targets the lats and shoulder

Now for some exercises to target scapular mobility and stability:

Wall Angels
Doing this with the elbows bent and trying to keep
them back against the wall is a better way to 
start this exercise.

Internal Rotation
Use a theraband or some type of resistance band.
Pull in towards your stomach keeping your upper
arm close to your body.

External Rotation
Pull out, away from your stomach, making sure to still keep your upper arm close to your body.

**For all my younger readers: Strengthen your rotator cuff now, and keep your shoulders strong so that you may prevent a tear later on in life.**

I plan on doing more physical therapy related posts in the future. One every other week on different injuries or just ways to strengthen different areas. Hope this was interesting for you all. 

Have you ever had a problem with your rotator cuff or shoulder in general?



  1. Never a problem with my rotator cuff, but I have had issues with my clavicle and AC joint.

    1. What sort of problems did you have with your AC joint?

  2. Oh, and keep the PT posts coming. Very interesting.

  3. Hi there! Just found you from Goggle+ Running bloggers community. This is great info! Although I don't have a rotator cuff issue, it looks like there's a wealth of PT knowledge here which, to a runner, is equal to being a kid in a candy store. Glad I found you...

    1. Thanks Allie! I'm glad you did too :) Hope you pop over again to ready and I'll make sure to put up the occasional PT posts :)

  4. Oh my gosh thank you SO much for sharing! I have all of these issues in my left shoulder and have had severely limited range of motion in it for over a year. It kinda freaks me out, but I've been trying to work out the kinks :) I'm excited to try out some of these exercises!

    1. That's not good! But, I hope this helps! Let me know :)

  5. Great info! I haven't had issues with my shoulders, but that doesn't mean that I won't ever! I definitely need to work on my upper arm strength--I focus so much on the legs and core with running, that I often neglect this area!

    1. Exactly! Prevention is definitely necessary with something like this. Keep those shoulders strong!