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Old 01-13-2008, 09:34 PM   #1
Thomas Mercer
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Shoulder Problems

I've had right shoulder problems for years, and I've notice for the last several months, my scapula seems to be out of place. My strength has been rapidly decreasing over the past few months.

I don;t notice any enormous pain in any movements, but there always seems to be tension and crunching/knots when I make a shrugging motion or hold the bar such as the end of a deadlift. I also notice it's uncomfortable doing back squats, it never feels like there's a solid shelf.

If someone could please look at the pics and offer any suggestions, I'd really appreciate it. Notice the complete lack of mobility when doing the back stretch on the 2 different sides.

http://i262.photobucket.com/albums/i...Picture010.jpg

http://i262.photobucket.com/albums/i...Picture003.jpg

http://i262.photobucket.com/albums/i...Picture005.jpg

http://i262.photobucket.com/albums/i...Picture006.jpg
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Old 01-13-2008, 10:25 PM   #2
Steven Low
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Re: Shoulder Problems

Pic 1: Can't see anything (probably too close).

Pic 2: Your scapulae are protracted at rest which indicates poor retraction strength. You need to do either some weighted rows (bent over rows) or some other type of rowing like front lever progression pullups, C2 rower work, or whatever else you can do that has total scapular retraction.

I assume you notice a decrease in your strength in pulling movements mainly.

Pic 3: Right arm has good external rotation mobility. Left arm has good internal rotation mobility.

Pic 4: Right arm has poor internal rotation mobility. Left arm has poor external rotation mobility. You need to stretch these to make them look like Pic#3. Easiest way to do it is at the same time with a piece of rope; grab one end in each hand like in the picture and pull them together. Do that 5 times each day for about 20-30s a piece. Pull to get them closer then relax and take a few breaths and then pull again.

You're probably right handed due to the fact that if you play a ball sport you throw the ball with your right hand which usually leads to good external rotator mobility but extremely poor internal rotation in the arm.


The problem with shrugging motions is that your scapulae are not retracted when you do this which leads to a protracted upward shrug which is very awkward for the shoulders. This places a lot of stress on those muscles in and around the shoulder girdle which is why there's all that tension, crunching and knots.

As for the back squats the same thing applies. You're supposed to retract your scapulae all the way back which helps bunch up the traps for the shelf if you're doing a high bar squat. With the low bar squat there's still not really a 'shelf' per se but the retracted shoulder blades will allow you to get your hands further back to grab onto the bar easier thus making it more stable to hold in place.

Make sure you are constantly fixing your posture as well. This will help with the scapulae retraction too.
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Old 01-14-2008, 05:27 AM   #3
Allen Yeh
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Re: Shoulder Problems

Some suggestions going off of what Steven said:

-Thoracic mobility on a foam roller or 2 tennis balls taped together (~5 reps per section, takes less than a minute)
-Doing the test as a stretch as he said
-Stick dislocates, concentrating on the action of shrugging up
-posterior capsule stretch or sleeper stretch
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Old 01-14-2008, 10:25 AM   #4
Thomas Mercer
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Re: Shoulder Problems

Thank you very much for the responses. The decreased strength is most noticeable with pushing movements, particularly bench press. It just feels unstable. Pic1 shows the trap being much smaller, and you can see the small lump from the scapula sticking up.

I do quite a bit of rows/pullups....much more than bench, which is why I'm suprised the balance exists the other way.

I'm definitely right handed, but I have never been a pitcher or quarterback... ????

You guys both think this is a not-so serious problem then? Ie- One that can be corrected by proper stretching? What sort of time frame should I be looking at in order to get back to really lifting at full capacity?
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Old 01-21-2008, 08:01 PM   #5
Steven Low
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Re: Shoulder Problems

Whoops, didn't see your questions.

Quote:
I'm definitely right handed, but I have never been a pitcher or quarterback... ????
Even if you're not, if you throw with your right arm you can develop this pretty easily. QBs and pitchers actually have it a lot worse.

Quote:
You guys both think this is a not-so serious problem then? Ie- One that can be corrected by proper stretching? What sort of time frame should I be looking at in order to get back to really lifting at full capacity?
Not that serious.. should be correctable within a month or two maybe sooner with a lot of stretching.

You can definitely lift and do strength work or whatever during this time.
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Old 01-29-2008, 01:31 PM   #6
Samuel Redwine
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Re: Shoulder Problems

As someone who's had scapular winging, I'd advise you to see a doctor if you're not better after several weeks of ice and rest.
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