Posterior Shoulder Tightness? Let's Get Moving!
by Chelsea Ortega, DPT, SCS, CSCS
Are you experiencing pain across the back of your shoulder when reaching across your body during daily tasks or during high level sports and activities?
The posterior cuff is notorious for being both tight AND weak, a combination of which will frequently lead to shoulder pain. The posterior cuff helps to stabilize your shoulder during daily movements. However, it also works eccentrically at great demands during high level sporting activities such as throwing a baseball or shooting a lacrosse ball. When these muscles are weak, it can cause pain and tightness across the back of the shoulder. Try these mobility exercises followed by the progression of strength exercises below and get your shoulder feeling great again!
Myofascial Release w/ Lacrosse Ball (3 min)
Lie on your side with your shoulder blade blocked by the ground. Bring the arm of the side you are lying on up to 90 degrees so it is perpendicular to your body. Place a lacrosse ball under your shoulder (posterior cuff) where you feel tightness. Then take the opposite hand and rotate your arm bringing your palm down to the ground. Repeat.
Posterior Cuff Stretch (2 x 30 sec)
Lie on your side with your shoulder blade blocked by the ground. With your opposite hand, grab your elbow and pull your arm across your body. Hold and repeat.
STRENGTH LEVEL 1
Prone T's - on Ball (2 sets x 15 reps)
Lie on your stomach on an exercise ball or a table. With your thumbs pointing toward the ceiling and your arms extended to the side, squeeze your shoulder blades down and back as if trying to put them in your back pockets. Then raise your arms up. Return to starting position. Optional: add light weights.
Prone W's - on Ball (2 sets x 15 reps)
Lie on your stomach on an exercise ball or a table. Start with your arms hanging down and squeeze your shoulder blades down and back as if trying to put them in your back pockets. Then raise your arms into a W position with palms facing the floor. Return to starting position. Optional: add light weights.
STRENGTH LEVEL 2
T's (2 sets x 12-15 reps)
Standing tall with your core tight, grab two ends of an elastic band. Pull the band apart by activating the posterior shoulder. Do not allow your shoulders to rise up.
90/90 External Rotation (2 sets x 12-15 reps)
Standing with your core tight and your elbows raised to 90 degrees, grab two ends of an elastic band with palms facing the ground. Rotate your arms up to a 90/90 position without letting your elbows move.
Prone W's to Y's - on Ball (2 sets x 12-15 reps)
Lie on your stomach on an exercise ball or a table. Starting with your arms in the W position from the Prone W exercise in Level 1 Strengthening section above, push your arms up over head into a Y position while keeping shoulders down. Return to W position.
Try these out and let us know what you think!