I recently caught the beginning of this video and one of the things that I like about it is Doctor Richard Hawkins use of words like "the roof of the shoulder" in referring to the accromion process. It makes understanding shoulder impingement a lot easier for non-medical people.
He talks about the roof of the shoulder developing bony spurs which in turn impinge on the ligaments of the rotator cuff. These ligaments, particularly that of supraspinatus, are impinged upon when the arm is raised to the side or overhead.
("Impinge" means to "contact" or press against. I first heard the term while in the army learning how to fix guns. In describing the internal operation of a weapon, the firing pin would impinge on the percussion cap causing fulminate of mercury to explode….)
I'm guessing that the spurs might be caused by the humerous banging into the root of the shoulder.
And that possibly happens because the upper and mid fibers of the trapezius aren't working properly.
The upper trapezius attaches at one end to the rear of the base of the skull and at the other end to the outer end of the collar bone, near where the collar bone attaches to the roof of the shoulder joint.
The middle fibers of the trapezius originate at the back of the upper neck and attach to the roof of the shoulder.
For these muscles to be able to pull up on the outer edge of the shoulder blade effectively it helps if they have a stable foundation. That foundation can be created by lifting the chest and pulling the head rearwards and upwards with the chin down.
It also helps if they have room to move. That room to move is created by the same above two actions, opening the chest and lengthening the neck (by pulling the head up and back.)
The neck and chest work together and so for alot of movements of the neck it helps to start with the ribcage, in this case lifting the chest and in particular bending the upper portion of the thoracic spine backwards. While the direction of movement is a backwards bend, since the upper thoracic spine tends to curve forwards, this movement acts to straigthen the thoracic spine (or make it straighter.)
The cervical spine, the part of the spine that joints ribcage to head, tends to straighten also as a result.
Straightening the cervical spine increases the distance between the head and ribcage. This creates some length in the trapesius muscle, assuming the shoulder blade is down. Then when the arms are lifted, the trapezius can act to pull up on the outer edge of the shoulder blade, lifting and angling the roof of the shoulder so that the upper arm bone doesn't impinge as it is lifted.
Now is having a "lengthened neck" and open chest a guarantee that the outer fibers of the trapezius will activate when the arm is lifted?
I don't know.
And that's why in my classes I teach a exercise specifically designed to activate these fibers. It isn't so much the exercise as where the awareness is focused while doing this exercise.
I've included it in FAT Exercises for Shoulder Blade Awareness and Control.
Just remember, if you want to avoid shoulder impingement syndrome then use the upper fibers of the trapezius muscle to move the outer edge of the shoulder blade upwards (more so than the inner edge.)
The seated get up is a way of getting into the one legged squat from a seated position. Even if you aren't interested in one leg squats this video does include tips on stabilizing the knees (at about the 5 minute mark.) Usual muscle activations for knee stability might include the quads, the hamstrings or any of the glutes. This looks at another set of muscles all together. If you like the video or find it helpful, please do share it! Thanks!
Some tips for learning how to do deep squats (without weight). The first tip is on how to stay balanced while squatting.
How do you learn the body weight safely? How do you work towards this pose even if you aren't sure if you are capable of doing it.
Basic yoga poses: standing, sitting, arm balances, binds, twists, inversions, back bending, front bends.
Scapular stabilization becomes a little bit harder when working agains the weight of the body. It can be easier to learn if you gradually increase the amount of body weight the scapular stabilizer muscles are working againsts..
Some hip flexor strengthening exercises.
These yoga poses can be used as arm strengthening exercises.
Turn yoga poses into leg strengthening exercises using floor pressing actions, leverage and friction.
One way of finding and fixing hip problems is to do standing hip strengthening exercises while balancing on one leg.
Knee anatomy for yoga teachers looks at the bones and muscles that comprise the back of the knee in simple terms.
Working towards a kneeling quadriceps stretch you first need to be able to kneel. If you have difficulty kneeling, you may find it helps to activate your quadriceps.
When doing quadriceps stretching it may help to activate and then relax your quadriceps in these standing, lunging, pigeon and supine yoga pose variations.
Some exercises and yoga poses for working towards a lying quadriceps stretch one leg at a time.
What are the benefits of the Dance of Shiva? Arm strength and balance, learning to learn and improving creativity.
This yoga routine video is designed to help you strengthen your arms and legs via the use of friction and pressure. It also teaches you how to become more aware of your body.
The transverse abdominis muscle can be broken down into three parts. Transverse abdominal exercises can thus affect the SI Joint, lumbar spine and the lower portion of the ribcage.
To improve the resiliency of your knees it can help to exercise them in a variety of positions. The following yoga poses can be used as knee strengthening exercises. The trick is to activate your knees while doing them.
Learn to consciously control your quads and hip flexors with Conscious Muscle Control: Quads and Superficial Hip Flexors. This downloadable video course teaches you how to feel and activate your quadriceps (the vastus muscles) as well as the rectus femoris, tensor fascae latae and sartorius muscles.
For any calf stretch you have to bend your ankle forwards to stretch the soleus and/or gastrocnemius. How you bend the ankle forwards can make the stretch more or less effective.
Yoga for flexibility with stretches for the hips, quads, hamstrings, glutes, psoas, shoulders and arms. These yoga stretches are designed to improve flexiblity.