Hello famillia! I would like to first say that I am very happy and proud to announce that my fiancée Tiffany is going to start her OWN blog posts! This is super cool that she can share her story with everyone and like I thought she is getting more love than me. She already has more visits on MY website! No I’m not bitter…lol I’m just kidding. I know how powerful her story is and continues to be so of course she needs to share it. Please read her stories and tell your friends because she is a symbol of hard work, commitment and success! I love you my soon to be Mrs. Tiff Ashmeade.
Now for today’s subject, it’s actually a request from a follower. My good friend Sam would like to know some stretches and rehab for shoulders. He was training with an injured shoulder for a few months and we met on the gym floor (as per usual) and we started talking and I gave him some help and tips on how to help his injury. Over time his pain has reduced and his strength and range of motion has improved because of his continued strengthening and aid of health professionals. Sam suggested I should have a blog on stretches and rehab for the shoulder, so I am writing this for everyone’s benefit.
I am currently studying this subject right now and have had a great book that I feel is the Holy Grail for movement, stretches, and rehab for the whole body. It’s called “Becoming a Supple Leopard” by Dr. Kelly Starrett and Glen Cordoza. It’s an amazing read and also a great reference for teaching proper body alignment and movement along with how to stretch and most of all injury prevention and rehab. I am going to highlight the correct shoulder archetypes and ways to stretch and repair the shoulder. Archetypes are the original model or type of movement that all others are based from.
The overhead archetype is an expression of full flexion and external rotation of the shoulders, which encompasses any position or movement that requires you to stabilize your arms over your head. Common examples are pressing or reaching overhead, hanging, and overhead throwing movements (Cordoza). A good way to check for this is by keeping your spine neutral, raise your arms overhead. Your ears should be visible from the side, your elbows straight, and your shoulders externally rotated. To cue shoulder external rotation, point your thumbs back and get your armpits forward.
A crucial element of shoulder joint stability is flexibility. You should perform light stretching before and moderate stretching after upper body workouts. Never stretch a cold muscle - warm-up your entire body by performing 5 - 15 minutes of cardiovascular exercise before stretching.
Perform the following stretches for 10 - 20 seconds each, and then repeat for 20-40 seconds when the workout is complete. Here are a couple simple stretches that will help in a huge way!
First is the Shoulder Blade Squeezes -Begin sitting or standing tall with your back straight. Squeeze your shoulder blades together until you feel a mild to moderate stretch hold for 5 seconds and repeat provided the exercise is pain free.
Pendular Circles- Begin leaning forwards with your forearm supported on a table or bench. Keeping your back straight and your shoulder relaxed, gently swing your arm in circles clockwise until you feel a mild to moderate stretch. Repeat the exercise swinging your arm counter clockwise. Repeat 10 times in each direction provided the exercise is pain free. You can also swing your arms from front to back and side to side.
Wall Crawl -Begin standing tall facing a wall. Place your hand on the wall and use your fingers to slowly finger-walk up the wall until you feel a mild to moderate stretch. Provided the exercise is pain free. For a more advanced stretch, have you back against the wall with the backs of your hands, your shoulder blades and your hips touching the wall.
Shoulder Flexion -Begin standing tall with your back and neck straight. Gently raise your arm forwards and up until you feel a mild to moderate stretch pain free.
Shoulder Abduction -Begin standing tall, with your neck and back straight. Gently raise your arm to the side, leading with your thumb until you feel a mild to moderate stretch pain free and Repeat.
Shoulder External Rotation-Begin standing tall, with your neck and back straight, your shoulders should be back slightly. Keeping your elbow tucked into your side and bent to 90 degrees, gently take your hand away from your body until you feel a mild to moderate stretch pain free.
Rehab and range of motion (ROM)- The first variable we will adapt is the ROM. When an injury occurs the body splints the area with muscle spasm to prevent further injury. This spasm restricts the range of motion. You must regain as much joint mobility as possible after an injury to prevent the onset of arthritis and/or athropy.
Osteoarthritis (Os-tea-O-arth-ri-tis) is the most common form of arthritis. It is merely the body forming calcium growths to stabilize an unstable area. Arthritic changes can begin as early as one week after an injury. Unnecessary immobilization of the shoulder can cause arthritic changes in as little as two days.
Most physical therapists recognize five phases of rehabilitation. Range of motion is closely coordinated with the progression of exercise; forming complete passive range of motion, initiating movement, muscular contraction, initiating movement with full active range of motion, strengthening with full range of motion and functional rehabilitation.
Supplementation is helpful with reducing inflammation and speeding up the process of healing. Most effective from the literature and my personal experience are products with Glucosamine Sulphate, Chondroitin Sulphate and MSM (Organic Sulphur). Now please note you shouldn't take herbs with medications unless you check with your pharmacists. Also note that taking NSAID's (Advil, Motrin, and Ibuprophin-containing drugs) will lower your sulphur content and cause more scar tissue to form and also lower the effectiveness of the aforementioned chemicals.
These are just a few techniques and practices that you can use to prevent injury, improve your range of motion and put you on the path to fixing injuries. I recommend see a health professional like a physiotherapist to properly asses your injury and set out the best plan for recovery. Remember take care of your body and it will take care of you!!
Until next time..
Works Cited Cordoza, Dr. Kelly Starrett and Glen. Becoming a Supple Leopard. Las Vegas: Victory Belt Publishing, 2015.
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Dan has been a personal trainer since 2008.