By Dave Werner
There is a common, almost universal problem with how we use our shoulders. This problem causes a large majority of chronic shoulder pain and injury and it is fixable.
My shoulder’s are good now but I’ve put a lot of mileage on them, and they have their share of injuries, wear and tear. In the middle of my time as a SEAL, around age 27, I experienced a hard fall on my right should that separated my right AC joint. Surgical repair was not an option then, so, since that injury,
my right shoulder has never been as stable as it should be.
At the time I knew nothing about shoulder anatomy or any anatomy but I did intuitively know that I needed to keep my shoulders strong if I wanted to keep using them. Over the years I have learned a great deal about shoulder anatomy and the best way to strengthen both healthy and injured shoulders.
At the root of most shoulder problems is a lack of awareness of a key part of our body, your scapula – shoulder blades. Over many years of coaching, almost everyone I’ve worked with has shared this lack of scapular awareness. But the problem is very fixable with smart training.
Our human shoulder is an amazing, mobile, powerful structure that allows us to throw, climb, swim, hang and punch and many other movements. The anatomical details that make this possible are a little complicated though. The shoulder joint is not just a simple ball and socket. It is a ball and socket but – it’s a large ball in a shallow socket. Think golf ball on a T, and the T is not stuck in the ground – it’s on a cart.
The shoulder socket is actually part of your shoulder blade. The shoulder blade, like my cart analogy, moves all over. The shoulder blade is only held in place by muscle. The scapula is NOT directly attached to the rest of your skeleton. What this means is that when you use your arms to do some work – let’s imagine a push up as our example – you are pressing, through your arms, into the ground. And using that force to raise and lower your body.
But you are NOT just pressing through your arms. Your arms are attached through the shoulder joint to your shoulder blades. Which, as I’ve said, are not directly attached to the rest of your skeleton. Those shoulder blades are located and stabilized by muscle.
If your shoulder blades are pushed out of position by the force you are putting through your arms, then the forces, in the shoulder joint itself, become unmanageable and this leads, over time, to pain and potentially damage in the joint.
What you will learn in my Fix Your Shoulders program is how to control and strengthen your entire shoulder structure so you can restore lost range of motion and do all the activities you love again, without pain.