“Putting on the brakes:” The key to scapular stabilization
“PUTTING ON THE BRAKES:” THE KEY TO SCAPULAR STABILIZATION
As you probably have seen from perusing this site, we are big fans of giving you tools for you to do things on your own. The “prone series” is an excellent group of exercises to perform. Ideal candidates for these exercises are overhead athletes (swimming, tennis, baseball/softball, football quarterbacks, javelin throwers), particularly young athletes. These can be done anywhere at anytime with no equipment – just a rolled up towel to put your forehead on while performing. Additionally, they can be done on the floor. So no necessary trips to the sporting goods store to get a bench.
We suggest performing all three exercises “back to back to back.” Start with trying to do 5 repetitions of each, and then build up to 20. Once those get easy (and they will if you commit to this!), add light dumbbells. A can of soup will work just fine too. The key is that you can’t compensate by “hiking” your shoulders up to complete the repetitions or using momentum to raise your arms up. You should really “feel the burn” between your shoulder blades and the back of the shoulder.
We caution you doing these three exercises if you have any range of motion restrictions in the shoulder, as in a post-operative shoulder or in one with arthritis. Inevitably, you will have to “cheat” to perform these and it will do more harm than good. In this case, it may be necessary to go see a physical therapist to get an assessment as to why you are having range of motion restrictions.
As stated previously, we LOVE these three exercises as a great starting point for young athletes. They’re easy to perform, require no fancy expensive equipment, can be done anywhere, and don’t require a lot of instruction. They are incredibly effective and results can be obtained quickly. You’ll know they’re working if your young athlete is having less pain when performing their overhead activity.