Ever feel a pop, immediate pain or weakness in your upper body? You may be struggling with weak shoulders. Weak shoulders prevent healthy function of the upper body, not allowing for the muscles to coordinate accordingly at its healthiest condition! This can also occur when different muscle groups including the pectoralis major, rotator cuff, deltoid and other mobility muscles are not working properly! In other cases, it could be that inflammation has occurred from the muscles naturally just protecting themselves from unwanted pain. Shoulder bursitis also causes inflammation in the shoulder blades, which leads to weakening of the shoulders. Here are five effective ways to strengthen weak shoulders:
Strengthening the Rotator Cuff
The rotator cuff plays a crucial role in the overall function of the shoulder. The rotator cuff includes 4 different muscles including the infraspinatus, supraspinatus, subscapularis and teres minor. These different muscle groups are the central hub for holding together the shoulder joint, as they each have a strong effect on stabilizing the upper arm as it sits in the shoulder joint. There are several different exercises that strengthen the rotator cuff such as exercise band work focusing on rotation.
Focus on Improving Posture
Poor posture sets people up for shoulder impingement, lower back issues, rotator cuff issues among many other problems. It’s imperative to take posture seriously since simple things like sitting properly at a desk can make a huge difference in preventing weak shoulders. Slouching at the computer instead of sitting up straight with shoulders back should be avoided. There are a few things many can do to fix this issue. Try some exercises that will help correct postural alignment. Self myofascial release using a foam roller or lacrosse ball can be effective to relax muscles that are chronically shortened from poor posture. For more tips on how to improve posture, please talk to your chiropractor.
Scapular Muscle Strengthening/Coordination
The scapular muscle group consists of 17 muscles that attach to the scapula (or shoulder blade). These muscles play an important function in the mobility, stability, and coordination of the shoulder. In many people these muscles are weak or poorly coordinated which can lead to instability of the shoulder joint. Strengthening the lower scapular muscles (the rhomboids and lower trapezius especially) is an effective strategy to help scapular stability. This can be accomplished by squeezing your shoulder blades together and down toward you tail bone, hold for 5 seconds and then release.
It may seem counter intuitive to think that weak shoulders need more flexibility or range of motion however this is often the case. For instance many people have habitually tight chest muscles. When the chest is tight it does not allow the rotator cuff to work effectively and stabilize the shoulder. By keeping your chest stretched you can improve the strength of the rotator cuff, which we already know is important for strong shoulders.
Visit a Chiropractor
Because shoulders involve so many muscles that are highly prone to injuries, visiting a chiropractor to develop a plan to prevent injuries altogether is an extremely smart move. A chiropractor will focus on treating you to provide relief from any past injuries as well as help with preventative measures such as rehabilitative exercises, Active Release Technique and Rocktape. This a fantastic option for those looking to improve current issues with various muscles as well as preventing any previous problems to resurface.