Imagine Batman without Robin, Tom without Jerry, and Key without Peele. It just can not work, right?
This is similar to the relationship of your shoulder to your shoulder blade. Sure, the shoulder gets all the attention, and big hills of muscle delivery can only be one of your priorities in the gym. But without the shoulder blade nothing can happen. The scapula is also attached to a variety of muscles that help stabilize the shoulder joint. Healthy scapula function is crucial for healthy shoulders.
An unhealthy scapular function is often the cause of shoulder pain that can alter and even force our lifts to take time. In the gym, most of us want to gain muscle and strength by increasing volume and intensity with our lifts. But often we start to make these advances, then we feel pain, which causes us to change our practices or even force us to take our time. You can avoid such injury-related setbacks by taking the time to create a more permanent shoulder complex ̵
The Magic Blade
Understanding the relationship between shoulder blade and shoulder is critical. The scapula sits on the back, on the outside of the rib cage, and is connected to the body by a variety of ligaments and muscles. Perhaps the most important muscle group adhering to the scapula is the rotator cuff, which consists of four tendons: Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, Subscapularis and Teres minor.
All four tendons of the rotator cuff come together to stabilize the humerus, the bone in your upper arm that runs from shoulder to elbow. The rotator cuff rotates the shoulder and helps with almost any shoulder movement you can imagine moving away from the arm (abduction) to the arm in front of you.
Several other critical muscles also attach to the scapula, including your traps, your rhomboids (the thick muscles running in the middle of your back) and your levator scapulars. Your anterior serratus also plays a key role, especially in overhead lifting. All these muscles provide stability of the shoulder joint and efficient movement of the shoulder.
If these muscles and tendons do not work with the scapula to stabilize the shoulder, you are more prone to injure the joint by overhead lifting or overhead throwing. When you lift a weight overhead, the scapula on your chest is turned up and out so that the surrounding muscles can work to move and stabilize the shoulder joint.
When you train hard, things become more serious. As you increase volume and intensity, your shoulder needs more stability of the scapulum to gain weight while remaining healthy. If the scapular stability is insufficient, other muscles will take over the brunt of the load, which can damage the shoulder or pinch the rotator cuff tendons or labrum (impingement).
Your Scapular Stabilizer Workout
Build strong, durable Skapular stabilizers, and your shoulder will be less prone to injury – and capable of moving the desired large weights. For this reason, you should include some work to stabilize the scapula throughout your workout. You do not have to spend hours training them. Simply perform these three movements as a warm-up exercise before each workout.
Focus on the shape for this, rather than trying to move massive weight, and always keep it light. You should aim for 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps per movement for strength endurance 2 to 3 times a week. Do this for 4 to 6 weeks. During a training session each week, focus on the eccentric (or negative) aspect of each exercise, and slowly lower the resistance to build up the tendon strength.