Home Posts tagged "Sturdy Shoulder Solutions"

Does Posture Actually Matter?

You often find people who claim that static posture doesn't matter. In many cases, their argument is based on research that doesn't demonstrate a definitive relationship between posture and pain. While I've got an extensive rebuttal to this opposing viewpoint, the easiest way to answer is to say that posture alone doesn't perfectly relate to pain or performance. Rather, it's the interaction of posture with both positions and load that matters.

Take this downsloped clavicle, as an example. Someone with this posture might live a completely normal life as a track and field runner, or someone who sits in the desk all day. However, throw this posture (scapular/clavicular depression) into the overhead athlete community, and the positions and loads encountered change dramatically.

If you're familiar with the Postural Restoration Institute school of thought, it shouldn't surprise you that this presentation was part of a larger left AIC/right BC pattern in a right handed pitcher, but let's just focus on this specific location for the sake of making a point with this article.

You can't tell me that the neurovascular bundle isn't compromised between the clavicle and first rib in this scenario. Or, it could happen more distally, under the attachments on the coracoid process of the scapula.

 

There's a reason we see thoracic outlet syndrome far more in baseball players than other athletic populations.
[bctt tweet="Posture loads the gun, but positions and loads specific to an athlete's sport pull the trigger."] 

This is one reason why I went to great lengths to dig in on posture in my "How Posture Impacts Pain and Performance" webinar as part of my Sturdy Shoulder Solutions resource. If you want to understand movement and its role in dysfunction and pain, you'd be crazy to overlook where people start.

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Prone External Rotation Compensation Patterns

Today, I've got a quick look at a common arm care substitution pattern we see when throwers are working on end-range external rotation. In the comparison video below, on the left, as the athlete gets to about 90 degrees of external rotation, he transitions to elbow flexion rather than using his posterior cuff to create clean external rotation. In the corrected version on the right, he slows it down and is able to actively tap into more of his (significant) passive ER.

You may also see athletes flock to elbow extension instead of ER, particularly when using bands/cables in the standing position. With that said, give this lengthier video I did previously a watch if you want to really dig in on the ways this drill can go wrong - but also how to progress it once you've got the technique locked in.

For folks who really struggle to compete against gravity with this, we can stand them up and work off the edge of a rack or doorway:

If you're interested in learning more about how we evaluate, coach, and program at the shoulder, be sure to check out my popular resource, Sturdy Shoulder Solutions.

Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive Instant Access to a 47-minute Presentation from Eric Cressey on Individualizing the Management of Overhead Athletes!

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Exercise of the Week: Half-Kneeling Wall Press 1-arm Kettlebell Thoracic Rotations

With this week's 25% off sale on Sturdy Shoulder Solutions, I thought it would be a good time to share one of my favorite thoracic spine mobility drils. The Half-kneeling Wall Press 1-arm Kettlebell Thoracic Rotation is a great example of how the best way to train rotation is from a neutral platform.

You'll notice that the rib cage is perfectly stacked over the pelvis, and the legs and feet are perfectly in alignment so that he can rotate in a narrow hallway. Further up the chain, the push of the left hand against the wall at 90 degrees of flexion gets us some serratus anterior recruitment, and left serratus activation actually facilitates right thoracic rotation. In other words, the more he pushes into the wall with his left hand, the more he can rotate to the right.

If you're looking for more insights on how I evaluate, program, and coach at the shoulder, be sure to visit www.SturdyShoulders.com and enter coupon code MLB2024 to get 25% off during our spring sale. It wraps up this Tuesday night at midnight.

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Elbow-Supported Dumbbell External Rotations: Do or Don’t?

The elbow-supported dumbbell external rotation is a pretty common exercise in strength and conditioning circles, but does it hold value for overhead throwing populations? In today's video, I answer that question:

If you're looking to learn more about how I assess, coach, and program for the shoulder, be sure to check out my popular resource, Sturdy Shoulder Solutions.

Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive Instant Access to a 47-minute Presentation from Eric Cressey on Individualizing the Management of Overhead Athletes!

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Why You Can’t Feel Your Serratus Anterior Working

Recently, I received an inquiry from a follower who asked why it's so hard to "feel" serratus anterior targeted exercises. There's a fair amount to unpack in this regard, so I recorded a video on the topic:

I dig in much deeper in my popular resource, Sturdy Shoulder Solutions. You can learn more at www.SturdyShoulders.com.


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Exercise of the Week: Bear Position to Thoracic Bridge

Today’s guest post comes from Cressey Sports Performance – Florida coach and internship coordinator, Andrew Lysy.

Bear Position to Thoracic Bridge is one of the newer mobility exercises we’ve been using lately to enhance thoracic spine, shoulder and hip mobility.

Unlike many other thoracic mobility exercises, Bear Position to Thoracic Bridge actively stretches out your biceps and pecs in a closed-chain manner.

In addition to creating length in the biceps and pecs, the athlete will also be working on anterior expansion, manubrium expansion and shoulder extension, which can help you regain shoulder internal rotation.

A few important cues for properly executing Bear Position to Thoracic Bridge:

1. Actively push away from the ground with your legs and arm/hand. While pushing away from the ground, create a cork-screw feeling with your hand so that your shoulder doesn’t tip/dip forward!

2. While extending your hips, maintain a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. This will help resist excess extension from your lower back and put all of the pressure on your hips!

3. Your feet and thighs should be parallel to each other.

This exercise is commonly used as a warm-up, mobility exercise or filler. We’ve used it for 2-3 sets for 5-8 reps. We’ve also held the Thoracic Bridge position for breaths.

Note from EC: If you're looking to learn more about how I evaluate, program, and coach at the shoulder joint, be sure to check out my popular resource, Sturdy Shoulder Solutions. It's on sale for $40 off through this Sunday at midnight; just enter the coupon code APRIL22 at www.SturdyShoulders.com. 

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Spring Sturdy Shoulder Solutions Sale!

Thursday is Major League Baseball Opening Day, an event that's always circled on the calendars of just about anyone in the baseball world. We're excited to see all our pro players back on the field in games that count!

To celebrate, I've put my resource, Sturdy Shoulder Solutions, on sale for $40 off through this upcoming Sunday (4/10) at midnight.

This has been one of my most popular resources of all time, and it's particularly useful if you work with baseball players. Don't miss out on this great chance to pick it up at an excellent discount. Just head to www.SturdyShoulders.com and enter the coupon code APRIL22 at checkout to get the discount.

 

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The Best of 2021: Strength and Conditioning Articles

With 2021 winding down, I'm using this last week of the year to direct you to some of the most popular content of the past 12 months at EricCressey.com, as this "series" has been quite popular over the past few years. Today, we start with the most popular articles of the year; these are the pieces that received the most traffic, according to my hosting statistics.

1. An Overlooked Function of Serratus Anterior - If you've followed my work for just about any length of time, you've probably quickly learned that I pay a lot of attention to serratus anterior for its profound impact on upper extremity function. And, this article was no exception.

2. 3 Shoulder-Specific Programming Principles - I ran a sale on my Sturdy Shoulder Solutions resource earlier in the year, and wrote up this piece to elaborate on some principles you'll find in that product.

3. 5 Lessons from a First-Round Draft Pick - In the 2021 Major League Baseball Draft, Cressey Sports Performance had 15 athletes selected – including three of the top 30 picks. Here are some important lessons you can learn from one of them.

4. Random Thoughts on Sports Performance Training: Medicine Ball Edition - This feature outlined some key medicine ball programming principles you can employ when designing strength and conditioning plans.

5. Thinking Beyond Diagnostic Imaging - In the past, I've written about the need for both "Medical" and "Movement" diagnoses. In reality, there might be a middle ground that helps to unify the two - and I discuss it in this article.

I'll be back soon with another "Best of 2021" feature. Up next, the top videos of the year!

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Exercise of the Week: Prone External Rotation End-Range Lift-off to Internal Rotation

If you're involved in any sport that requires a lot of precise control of the extreme external rotation position (as in throwing), here's an advanced progression that you could benefit from trying. Many rotator cuff exercises focus on building strength/motor control/timing in positions that aren't specific to the throwing motion, but this one forces athletes to be proficient in positions that really matter.

If you're looking to learn more about how I assess, program, and coach at the shoulder, be sure to check out my popular resource, Sturdy Shoulder Solutions.

Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive Instant Access to a 47-minute Presentation from Eric Cressey on Individualizing the Management of Overhead Athletes!

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An Overlooked Function of Serratus Anterior

Serratus anterior gets:

1. A lot of love as a scapular protractor

2. Some love as a scapular upward rotator

3. Even less love as a posterior tilter of the scapula

4. Just about zero love for its impact on rib internal/external rotation.

Most importantly, you'll see that the upper fibers of the serratus anterior attach on the first rib - the very bone that's removed during thoracic outlet surgery.


Images by Anatomography - en:Anatomography (setting page of this image), CC BY-SA 2.1 jp, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27010000

When the serratus fires, it depresses the first rib and clears space under the clavicle for important nerve and vascular structures to pass.

If you take a second to think about it while looking at the anatomy charts below, you'll appreciate that this attachment effectively makes serratus anterior an antagonist to the scalenes and subclavius, which both elevate the first rib.

This is one reason why a lot of the thoracic outlet syndrome cases you'll encounter aren't your classic kyphotic (hunchback) posture, but actually a lot of flat thoracic spine, heavy scapular downward rotation/depression, and horizontal clavicle presentations.

Getting serratus anterior going favorably impacts scapular upward rotation (which brings the clavicle up), first rib positioning, and the ideal convex-concave relationship between the rib cage and scapula.

Fun fact: serratus anterior also indirectly impacts contralateral thoracic rotation, but that's a post for another day!

If you're looking to learn more about how I assess, coach, and program for the upper extremity, be sure to check out Sturdy Shoulder Solutions.

 

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