TRAINING WITH SHOULDER PAIN (PART 2):
Shoulder Rehabilitation Exercises
In part 1, I introduced a synchronized swimmer who came to see us after developing symptoms of tendinopathy in her rotator cuff. In my opinion, one of the factors leading to her discomfort was the way she was training her shoulders. Instead of loading the shoulder in isolation, we decided to challenge the entire system responsible for establishing strong and stable shoulders. Most notably the mid spine, the shoulder blade and the shoulder joint itself.
Below are some shoulder rehabilitation exercises that were used for this client in order to decrease discomfort and increase mobility, strength & stability in the shoulder.
Side Lying T-Spine Rotation
In this scenario, the first restriction that was important to clean up was the swimmers thoracic mobility. In other words, her ability to rotate through the middle and upper sections of her back. Often, the hypermobile athlete (as she was) will look to achieve stability in the thoracic spine and end up losing a lot of the natural movement capabilities of the spine. A side lying T- spine rotation drill worked well to regain that range of motion.
Alternating Bear Crawl Holds
Moving further down the line, we come to the shoulder blade. Often when the shoulder blade is not stable enough to provide a base of support for the arm, the shoulder joint may become rigid and restricted. To reinforce proper control of the shoulder blade, the swimmer spent some time going through alternating bear crawl holds. As the hand and foot rise up off the ground, the arm in contact with the floor bears the weight. The shoulder blade, among other things, has to work to maintain stability in the joint.
Half Turkish Get Up
To challenge the shoulder with the arms in an elevated position, we used a variation of the Turkish Get Up. It is true that the Get Up is more than just a shoulder exercise. We used an abbreviated version to focus on the stability of the shoulder blade while working mobility in the spine and shoulder joint.
As mentioned in part 1, there are a long list of factors that can lead to someone suffering from irritation in the rotator cuff. Luckily, with this athlete we were able to determine and remove the cause of the discomfort, modify the training and get her back to where she belongs; in the pool swimming.