| Article written on November 5th, 2015 at 10:19am | Follow Garrett on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram |
Posture is important. And, in the human race it is declining rapidly. Not only is gravity one of our best friends and worst enemies, but technology is playing a huge role as well. Most of what we do on a daily basis is in front of us. We type on the computer (like I am now), we sit in the car, and we overall endure postures that are pretty lousy. So, having a go-to exercise to combat forward shoulder posture is essential.
The band wide pull is basic. But, while being basic, it is very easily done incorrectly. It’s primary goal is to strengthen the muscles between the shoulder blades, which promotes good posture and optimal shoulder health.
The muscles between the shoulder blades and the spine include the rhomboids and trapezius. When we are in a position where our shoulders round forward, we place these muscles in a lengthened/stretched position.
As you read this, what position are your shoulders in?
Constant tension is a gateway into the cumulative injury cycle. We need balance between musculature tension and relaxation. In the case of good posture, our soft-tissue is held in a balanced position where it is in optimal length. Here, blood flow is restricted within the tension positioned, but restored with relaxation. Therefore, muscles are able to be fueled with oxygen and function optimally.
When we adapt to the everyday postural stresses and now maintain a forward shoulder posture, tension in this musculature is constant. Constant tension means limited blood flow and lack of oxygen. Our tissues become fibrotic and lose their supple and elastic properties. This often exhibits as pain or “tightness” between the shoulder blades.
What I’m trying to say is that you should do the band wide pull to offset this problem. Some stretching will also be a good supplement to open up the tight pec major.
How to properly execute this exercise
- Hold a very light/light resistance band in your hands
- Start with your elbows by your side and palms up, facing the ceiling
- Ensure the upper trapezius/shoulders are relaxed and without shrugging
- Squeeze the shoulder blades together and stretch the band in opposite directions
- As the arms straighten next to the body, make sure the pinch between the shoulder blades is the focus
- Relax and return to the starting position
- Repeat for the desired repetitions
Note: The focus of this exercise is motion at the scapulothoracic joint and not at the shoulder. This means that we don’t want to excessively extend the shoulder, but focus on squeezing the shoulder blades together. Begin with a light band, anything too challenging will cause compensation and limited success.
By: Garrett McLaughlin, MS, ATC, CSCS, ART