Thursday, February 4, 2010

Prepare Your Shoulders for Workout Battles....

Question: Is there anything I can do to strengthen my shoulders? They seem to "click" alot. Even though there is no pain, I just find it annoying and somewhat concerning. Any suggestions?

- Thomas, NM

Answer: The shoulder serves an extraordinary amount of purposes during daily life, and more appropriately, is called upon during virtually all upper-body movements. Made up of an intricate web of ligaments, and tendinous tissue (muscle attachments), the glenohumeral joint (GH) offers the upper-body a very mobile joint that is called upon during sport, active play, and purposeful exercise. Like a double edged sword, the maneuver-ability of the GH joint enables the body to complete numerous tasks; however, the abundance of maneuver-ability also makes it susceptible to chronic and acute injury.
This maneuver-ability created by the GH joint is aided by the congruent effort of the scapula. The scapula, although also moves, is considered the “anchor” of the shoulder. The scapula houses the attachments of the four rotator cuff muscles (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis). These four muscles arise from the scapula and attach into the top (head) of the humerus (upper arm bone). During movements, the rotator cuff compresses the GH joint in order to bring the arm up and out. Without proper conditioning and function of the rotator cuff muscles, the humeral head would partially ride up inside the joint, lessening the efficiency of the deltoid muscle and potentially causing injury by virtue of compressing the tendons of the rotator cuff against the acromioclavicular joint.

To read more about a 7-Phase Approach to Protect Your Shoulders, check out this article I wrote for Muscle & Fitness last month.

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