Do you love doing push ups? Have unresolving shoulder pain? Have you been told push-ups are a great way to get shoulder strength?
When something goes wrong with your shoulder, it hampers your ability to move freely and can cause a great deal of pain and discomfort.
Shoulders are the most mobile joints in the body which allows us to do amazing things with them. The downside is that mobility makes them unstable and one of the most commonly injured joints.
The biggest nuisance with shoulder injuries is that because they allow for complex movements, they can be complex to treat, and can become an ongoing issue waiting to be reaggravated.
My frustration is that quite often the rehabilitation strategies provided to patients are part of the problem. Too often patients are given pages and pages of stretches and exercises all designed to increase shoulder strength and stability.
The problem lies with the push-up family of exercises. The problem is not with the exercise itself but when and how it is prescribed. Practitioners know it can be good for creating shoulder strength, but many don’t appreciate when is the correct time to commence.
The reality is push ups are a fantastic functional exercise, where functional is the key word.
You need functional muscles to do push ups and create greater strength and endurance for everyday movements that we do throughout the day.
The big thing most people don’t appreciate about push ups is that it’s not about the pecs, biceps and triceps. These muscles definitely benefit from the exercise and a lot of people do push ups with these muscles solely in mind.
Push ups are primarily about shoulder blade stability. The shoulder blade plays the critical role in stabilizing the other bones involved in the rhythm of shoulder motion. The muscles of the shoulder can do what they do because of the stability provided by the shoulder blade.
Push ups can be a great exercise for improving shoulder stability and strength, but you must have proper shoulder blade stability first. Without proper shoulder blade function, the push-up becomes a challenge for our bodies in how best to compensate. Doing the simple push-up with a poor functioning shoulder complex can often lead to injury rather than strength.
So, do you want to know a couple quicks ways you can see if you might have an issue?
Here are a couple of quick tests to check if you have scapular stability could be a significant component of your shoulder problems.
Scapular winging – get some help from a friend or partner. Stand near a wall or door, wearing clothing that allows the friend or partner to see your shoulder blades. You need them to tell you what’s happening to the border of the shoulder blade closest to the spine. Stand facing the wall or door and bring your straight arms level with your shoulder and then and then push on the wall in a push-up motion
Scapular stability test – get some help from a friend or partner. Place your hand out in front of you at shoulder height with a straight arm and palm up. Hold the arm there and ask your friend or partner to apply a small amount of pressure, at your wrist, towards the ground. Does the arm seem weak and does the shoulder blade move as well.
If the border of your shoulder blade wasn’t sitting flat on your rib cage when doing the wall push up, you were unable to keep your arm straight at shoulder height when pressure was applied or the shoulder blade moved at the same time then there is a good chance you may have shoulder blade instability.
If you have any questions or want some help to resolve your shoulder problems give me a call on 9318 7758 or send me a message and I’ll help you get back on track.