Scapular stabilization and why we assess


My last blog addressed scapular winging and the importance of serratus anterior activation.  Below is a circuit I often use with clients when I want them to focus on proper scapular alignment and strengthening of the SA.

  1. Begin in a plank position, as noted in picture A.  Your wrists should be under your shoulders, your feet should be about hip width apart, and your ears should be aligned with your shoulders, chin slightly tucked.  Resist the floor with your hands, filling in the space between the shoulder blades (if the person isn't getting this cue, I place my hand gently between the shoulder blades and encourage the person to press into my hand).  Hold for 10 seconds or 5 breaths.
  2. Lift the hips up and back into down dog, as in picture B.  Press firmly into the index fingers and gently externally rotate the humerus.  Notice how the shoulder blades feel, as though they are gently wrapping around the ribs without elevating.  Hold for 10 seconds or 5 breaths.
  3. Lower on to your forearms for dolphin (picture C).  Resist the floor firmly with your forearms.  Make sure the shoulders don't elevate to the ears and keep the neck long.  Again, note how the shoulder blades feel.  Hold for 10 seconds or 5 breaths.  
  4. Flatten back into a forearm plank position.  Continue resisting the floor with the forearms and be sure the space between the shoulder blades is still filled in.  The back of the neck should be long, and the chin slightly tucked.  Hold for 10 seconds or 5 breaths.
Rest for 5 seconds, and repeat the circuit 1-3 more times, depending on the person's endurance.  This brings awareness to the shoulder blade area and encourages healthy spinal alignment.

I am excited to announce I will be holding a static and dynamic assessment workshop Saturday, May 19 (for more info, www.bewellpt.com or www.montereyyogashala.com).  Static posture assessment and dynamic movement assessment allow a human movement professional to identify muscular imbalances and potential injury risk.  While the accuracy of movement assessment and how it applies to injury is still being studied, it has been my experience that identifying impaired movement patterns and employing a corrective approach restores movement efficiency, and often reduces pain the individual is experiencing.  The ability to move freely and without restraint is something that is often taken for granted; assessments enable a human movement professional to establish a baseline and improve freedom of movement, both as it relates to everyday function and physical goals.  Assessments enable the professional to design programs that will help an athlete move better, the yogi or dancer improve stability, and the parent perform activities with his child without injury.  I am looking forward to sharing my passion about this topic with others, and hope to see you there!
Yours in health and wellness,
Jenn