What is My Shoulder Injury Exercise Cue?

As discussed in Part I – Addressing Shoulder Dysfunction Beyond the Shoulder Itself, for every movement we create there is an entire kinetic chain response that occurs.
To experience how the body must connect at each segment to work efficiently and to identify some of your own areas of weakness and inflexibility, try the following movement:
– Start on your hands and knees, with palms below shoulders, knees below hips and spine in a neutral position.  Now have someone place a tennis ball or water bottle on your lower back.
– Simultaneously reach opposing limbs away from each other until your arm and leg are horizontal with to the floor

Determine whether you make any of the following compensations:

– Do your shoulders round forward or upward toward your ear?
– Do you bend at the elbows during the movement?
– Do you weight-shift onto the support knee, causing you to rotate your spine or hips?
– Do you arch your low back or round your upper back?
– Did the ball or water bottle fall to one side?
Now, try starting in the same position as above and holding all of the following positions before reaching your limbs away:

– Activate the scapular muscles by gripping the floor with your hands like you are pulling the floor apart
– Corkscrew your arms by keeping your fingers forward and turning your biceps forward throughout the movement
– Pull your shoulders away from your ears, drawing your shoulder blades into your opposing back pockets.  Maintain this support but engage your abdominals so that you are not arching the low back and re-establish your neutral spine
– Maintain a connection between your ribs and your hips so they don’t spread apart during the movement
– As you reach your opposing arm and leg away from your body, do not allow any further weight to transfer to your support knee.

Did you recognize the difference in strategies and core stability support generated when cueing the connections in your joint segments?
This is just one example, using an exercise commonly prescribed for retraining shoulder, rotator cuff and scapular stability, of how cueing can create a significant impact on the overall motor function and effect of the exercise.  Movement retraining is about considering the kinetic chain as a whole and helping the body re-connect and regain function.

Next week, discover the “Silent Triggers” that commonly contribute to shoulder dysfunction in Part III of this article.

– By Tara Keller, BSc.(KIN), MES

Thank you Tara for part 2 of the article.

Rick Kaselj, MS