Movements of the Shoulder Girdle

Movements of the Scapular

Protraction/Retraction

  • Imagine your arms are like giant wings that connect into the middle of your back at your spine. Reach your wings forward and feel them pull apart in the back. Now squeeze them back together toward your spine.
  • Draw your shoulder blades apart letting your shoulders round and your arms reach straight ahead toward the wall ahead of you. Try to stretch the space between the shoulder blades. To draw the shoulder blades back together imagine trying to squeeze water out of a sponge that sits between them.
  • Feel your shoulder blades – or wings – slide out and in along your ribcage – or back – as if they were sliding doors. (Chantill Lopez)
  • Crack a walnut between your shoulder blades.
  • Create a flat plateau between the shoulder blades.

Elevation/Depression

  • Feel your shoulder blades like slippery bars of soap. Allow the soap to gently slide up and down your back creating soft foamy suds. (Taken from Eric Franklin)
  • Happy shoulders float up. Happy shoulders slide down. (Eric Franklin)
  • Draw your shoulders up toward your ears as if to hide your neck. Draw your shoulders down away from your ears as if trying to expose more of your neck.
  • Like a turtle coming in and out of its turtle shell allow your shoulder blades to slide up hiding you in your shell then slide them down exposing your head and neck outside your shell.
  • Imagine your shoulder blades like elevators. They glide up and down without hesitation or effort. (Chantill Lopez)

Movements of the Shoulder Girdle

Movement of the Humerus

Internal Rotation

  • With your arm extended, rotate your thumb toward the floor.
  • Roll the inside of your elbow inward toward your body.
  • (If hand is fixed) Spiral your upper arm inward trying to expose your armpit to the sides of the room.
  • Feel your upper arms like a barber pole spiraling inward toward your body. (Chantill Lopez)
  • Feel as if you could unscrew the top of your arm bone forward out of your shoulder socket. You will feel a slight drawing forward of your shoulder blade.

External Rotation

  • With your arm extended, rotate your thumb toward the ceiling.
  • Roll the inside of your elbow outward away from your body.
  • (If hand is fixed) Spiral your upper arm outward drawing your under arms down gently toward your ribs.
  • Feel your upper arms like a barber pole spiraling outward away from your body.
  • Feel as if you could screw the top of your arm bone back into your shoulder socket. You will feel a slight drawing back of your shoulder blade.

Movements of the Shoulder Girdle

Humeral Glide Into Shoulder Socket

Retraction

  • Imagine you have a small pocket in the back of your shoulder and you are trying to draw your arm back into the pocket.
  • Feel your arm bone being vacuumed back into your shoulder socket.
  • Broaden your collarbones and allow your arm bones to draw back.

Protraction

  • Imagine strings attached to your fingertips like puppet strings. Feel as if someone is pulling your arm bone out of the socket slightly.
  • Let your chest collapse and feel both arms being pulled forward.

Movements of the Shoulder Girdle/Glenohumeral Joint

All

Flexion

  • Feel your arm bone fold into the front of your shoulder socket as the arm lifts.
  • Allow the space between the front of your shoulder and collarbone to soften as the arm elevates.
  • Let your shoulder absorb your arm into the socket as if it were sinking into warm sand. (Chantill Lopez)
  • Feel your shoulder blade like a counter weight, as your arm floats up the weight of the shoulder and shoulder blade draw down your back.

Extension

  • As the arms press down toward your thighs feel the movement is initiated from the back, between the shoulder blades rather than the arms themselves. (Variation on Marie Jose-Bloom)
  • Imagine a quarter size tattoo right in between the tip of your shoulder blades. As you begin to move the arms downward feel as if you could glide the tattoo up the skin of your back. (Marie Jose-Bloom)
  • Imagine pressing the whole width of your upper back into the wall behind you as you reach your arms in the same direction.
  • As you move your arm back past your waist think of drawing your upper arm bone deeper into the back pocket of your shoulder.
  • Use your arms like paddles, pressing them back as if through water. Keep your shoulders reaching into the room and collarbones wide.
  • Allow your upper arm bones to slightly roll in as you squeeze the triceps toward the wall (or exchange with appropriate item) behind you.

Abduction

  • Like a lever, feel your collarbone drop as your arms float out to the sides.
  • To minimize the shoulders creeping up as your arms lift to your sides, bring your arms slightly in front of your shoulders and feel the freedom in the shoulder as you do so.
  • Feel the arms float up and out as if they were floating on the surface of water. (Chantill Lopez)

Adduction

  • Think of having a squishy ball under each arm. Draw your arms in to squeeze the balls into your sides.
  • As you bring your arms down toward your sides imagine you are deflating a balloon under each arm.
  • Press your arms down toward your sides as if you were in water and doing so would propel you up and out of the water.