In this video, I am going to answer a question that I received from the Exercises for Injuries Secret Facebook Group. It is related to the previous video where I had Donnalee go through Floor Wall Slides. In that exercise, you are lying on your back and you are moving your arms along the floor to overhead and back down in order to help with proper movement in the shoulder, firing all the muscles properly in the shoulder and having all the joints work properly in the shoulder.
What if you can’t do the Floor Wall Slide? What if you can’t keep your arm along the floor when doing the exercise?
I wanted to go through three things that you can do. First, see how you are doing the Floor Wall Slide, and then try these three exercises. Then re-test or do that Floor Wall Slide again to see if there are improvements.
3 Exercises that You Can Do if You Can’t Do the Floor Wall Slides
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In the traditional Floor Wall Slide, your arms are out to the side. You are going to slide the arms along the floor, bringing your arms overhead, bringing your palms together and then returning back slowly.
Floor Wall Slide
Most can do this exercise, except for maybe that last 10%. This is important because that last 10% puts your shoulder at greater stress and risk of injury. You have to work on this so you can have the full range of motion.
Some people are able to bring their arms along the ground, but they just can’t have their hands on the ground. This is what you can do if that is the case.
#1 – Foam Rolling the Thoracic Spine
Place the foam roller on the lower part of your mid back. Pop yourself up and then roll down and back up. Remain straight over the foam roller and roll over that mid back area.
Foam Rolling the Thoracic Spine
Start at the lower back, rolling back to the mid shoulder blades or to the upper shoulder blades. Do not roll into your neck. We are loosening up the thoracic spine more by putting pressure on it and loosening it up in the anterior direction.
#2 – Arms Over Head on the Foam Roller
This is a slightly more aggressive thoracic exercise. You can use tubing or you can put something in your hands to provide some resistance. Have your arms shoulder width apart, and place the foam roller in your thoracic area.
Arms Over Head on the Foam Roller
Bring your arms overhead and arch at that spot, trying to loosen up that segment of the vertebrae. . The tubing provides you with something to grasp, and having the arms overhead gives you a little bit more leverage to place more force in the thoracic spine.
We are really working on the extension part of the thoracic spine which tends to be really tight and stiff in the vast majority of people.
#3 – Isometrics into a Foam Roller
Use a full foam roller or a half foam roller. In some ways, a half foam roller works better. If you do not have a foam roller, you can use a towel.
Lie on your back and find that spot that you can’t bring your arms to the ground when you lift your arms out to the side. This will be your gauge. At that point, you are going to bring in the foam roller. Point your thumb up and push into that foam roller, then relax. And then move up about 30 degrees.
Isometrics into a Foam Roller
Really focus on pushing it back and working those scapular muscles. You can continue with that isometric into the foam roller all the way overhead.
You’ll probably notice that when you bring your arm out to the side, it will be fine to a certain point. You then need to add some rotation in order to have things open up in the shoulder and to get your arm overhead. Everyone varies on how high they can go before they have to rotate their shoulder to open up.
You have to go through those isometrics. Once again, the number of steps you will be doing depends on the point you can put your hand against the ground. After going through those three exercises, re-test to see how that floor wall slide feels.
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Rick Kaselj, MS