The mid-back and shoulder blade (scapula) area is the focus of this blog and video. This area is commonly weak if someone presents with a proximal cross posture. This posture is characterised by rounding of the shoulders, forward head carriage and the chin jutting forward.
We see many people in our office with this postural presentation and they don’t often realise they suffer from it. From this proximal cross we can see a variety of problems as a results. Problems such as tension and or pain in the shoulders, upper back, mid back and neck,.Headaches and tension in the chest may also be a feature. We also see weakness in the deep neck flexors in the front of the neck and weakness in the muscles of the mid-back, around the shoulder blades. These muscles rotate the shoulder back (external shoulder rotators). We shall refer to these areas as the scapula stabilising muscles, and these are the muscles we are aiming to increase their strength. This will help to bring our shoulders back and over our hips.
Building Strength – 2 Isometric Exercises
You will need 2 pieces of equipment, or alternatively If you do these at the gym, you will not need any equipment.
A Thera-band about 2 metres in length and a handled elastic tube. The Thera-band can be used instead of the elastic band, however it cannot be tied, it needs to be in a whole length. A hand towel is also required. With the band and tube, start with a low tensile one first and then build up.
With each of the exercises below:
Hold 60 seconds
Repeat 2-3 times a day
Part A For the Mid-back Scapular Stabilisers
Equipment – tube with handles
Warm up with a few scapula clocks we went through in Part 1.
Find a pole and place the tube around the pole. Place handles above the wrist, so you are not straining the wrist. Bring shoulder blades back and down and lock them in place against the rib cage. Engage core muscles as in Part 1 and gently shuffle feet back while maintaining tension in the tube. Then slowly shuffle forward again. Do this over and over for 60 seconds and repeat 5 times.
Part B For the External Shoulder Stabilisers
Equipment- Thera-band in a loop, so two ends need to be tied together. Hand towel folded twice.
With the Thera-band, wrap it around the pole and stand side on to the pole. Wrap the other end of the Thera-band around above the wrist that is furthest from the pole. Place the folded towel between the arm and the rib cage. Engage core and the muscles at the back of the shoulder, your external shoulder rotators. Again shuffle away from the pole, keeping tension in the band at all times. Shuffle back to the pole and repeat for a minute. Do 5 times.
Repeat on the other side.
Any problems with any of these exercises, then stop and let your chiropractor know.