Do This, Not This (#3): Rowing Technique

shoulder postures.jpg

Maybe it's because we sit at a desk most of the day.  Or maybe because we're on our phones too much.  Or maybe because we didn't crawl enough when we were young.  Or maybe because we locked down our scapulas with heavy backpacks throughout school.

Regardless of the reason, one of the common movement dysfunctions I see in the clinic is a lack of scapula dissociation (shoulder blade control).

Some people have no idea what position their scapula is in, let alone how to control it.

This often leads to an elbow compensation with pulling movements (see video below). 

Instead of the scapula moving backwards, the elbow drives the shoulder forward, compromising the front of the shoulder.

Don't Do This

Leading with the elbow can place a lot of stress on the front of the shoulder.  It also closes down the space on top of the shoulder (subacromial space).

Driving pulling movements primarily with the elbow is inefficient and may lead to an injury.

 excessive stress at the front of shoulder, back, and neck

excessive stress at the front of shoulder, back, and neck

Do This Instead

Driving pulling movements with the scapula is ideal.  The muscles are much larger and stronger on the scapula than they are on the humerus.

Once you find your scapula, and get it out of your elbow, you can incorporate this movement into all activities (opening doors, picking things up, etc.).

 scapula retracted backward to spread forces evenly

scapula retracted backward to spread forces evenly

Summary

Controlling your scapula helps to protect the shoulder and leads to more efficient movement patterns.

Try to integrate this into your workouts or daily activities.