I see a fair amount of shoulder “issues” A simple test is to have the athlete bring their arm out to their side and all the way up while keeping their palm down and elbow straight and stop when they hit tension.
Have them do the same thing out in front.
If they don’t have a good range of motion (ROM), overhead lifting will NOT be a good idea! Why would I put a kettlebell in their hand if they can’t get their arm over their head withOUT weight?
How to fix it
“He who treats the site of pain is lost” —Karel Lewitt, M.D
Not everyone who has less than stellar range of motion will have pain, but most that have shoulder pain have decrease shoulder ROM.
While my goal is not to directly get rid of their pain, I know that by getting a full range of motion a vast majority of the time their pain will go away. Better movement almost always results in less pain.
Here is a video of a pre and post Z-Health joint mobility work
What Did We Do?
While every case is different, here we did some LEFT ankle mobility work (this athlete has some extra hardware in his left ankle and a scar from the said hardware), neck mobility work, and right wrist mobility work.
In general, from all the shoulder issues I’ve work with I find the following to help a vast majority of the time.
Mobility work for the
- Opposite foot/ankle
- Opposite hip
- Thoracic spine
- Same side hand/wrist.
While it is not this easy all the time, about 70% of the time it really is if you are doing the drills correctly (I love the Z-Health R Phase and I Phase drills for this) and you can reassess the athlete after EACH drill to know if you made them move better or worse. A gait assessment and simple shoulder ROM test (both taught in the Z-Health R Phase certification) work awesome.
Since we are targeting the nervous system directly, we should see and IMMEDIATE change to know if the athlete is better or worse. Gone are the days of sending them home with scap wall slide, stick ups, external rotation work, etc and then they come back 2- 6 weeks later to see if they worked or not! We can now tell in SECONDS if the drills we did were good or bad. This is critical since every athlete is an individual.
But I Do “Prehab” Exercises and They Work!
I am not saying that those other exercises never work or are “bad”, my point is that I believe there is a much faster way to get an end result. You can now get great results with some simple looking joint mobility work and a reassessment protocol if you target the nervous system directly.
Any comments, let me know!
Mike T Nelson
If you are interested in more info about the Z-Health R Phase cert, drop me a line(Mike T. Nelson) by clicking HERE with the subject “Z-Health Cert Questions”