Preventing Shoulder Blade Pain
One way for athletes to prevent shoulder blade pain is by maintaining proper strength and flexibility in the chest and back. Athletes who allow their chest and shoulders to become too tight, while allowing their back to become weak, will experience a rounding forward of the shoulders and neck and will experience neck, elbow, shoulder, or shoulder blade pain.
One simple way to correct shoulder blade pain is by increasing the volume of back exercises like the row, lat pulldown, or reverse fly. Athletes can also begin to recruit more back muscles by always focusing on pulling the shoulder blades back and not allowing the head, chest, or shoulders to rotate forward. This constant squeeze on the back will begin to pull the shoulder blades and shoulders back into alignment while reducing shoulder blade pain.
The reverse fly motion makes for a great active stretch that can temporarily relieve shoulder blade pain from athletes. Athletes will simply lengthen their arms out in front of their chest, parallel to the ground with the palms facing each other. Athletes with separate their arms, keeping their arms fully extended and squeezing their shoulder blades together. As athletes continue the reverse fly motion and continue to increase the distance between the arms, the athlete should focus on increasing the squeeze of the shoulder blades. Athletes should continue to pull the shoulder blades down and back while not engaging the neck or upper trapezius muscles.
Athletes can also perform the reverse fly motion with slight resistance or at different angles slightly lower than shoulder height. This reverse fly warm up also goes great with other neck and shoulder blade pain relieving exercises like the Stability Ball Wall Bounces, Bicep or Trap Rolling With the Recovery Foam Roller, or the Y-W-T Shoulder Mobility Exercise.
Straight Arm Reverse Fly
To perform the Straight Arm Reverse Fly athletes will need a set of Ballistic Bands. Athletes should choose one of the lower resisted sets of Ballistic Bands to ensure athletes can get a good squeeze on their shoulder blades and take their arms through a long range of motion. Athletes will wrap the Ballistic Band around their hands, point their palms at the ground and begin to pull their arms away from each other.
As athletes begin to separate their arms they need to maintain a back and down squeeze on their shoulder blades while actively limiting the involvement of the upper trapezius in the reverse fly motion. Athletes will separate their hands until their elbows come even with their shoulders. In a controlled motion, athletes will then bring their hands back to the starting position, maintaining tension on the back throughout the entire reverse fly motion. As athletes get farther into the Straight Arm Reverse Fly it will become harder to fully separate the hands. Athletes should continue to maintain good form and execution and perform the reverse fly motion as far as the athlete is able to. Athletes will perform 6-8 sets of 25 seconds of the Straight Arm Reverse Fly, allowing 25 seconds of rest between sets.
Athletes can use this reverse fly motion as an active warm up or as a shoulder blade exercise. Athletes who are using the reverse fly as a warm up should have lower levels of resistance so the arms can easily be taken through a long range of motion. Athletes who are performing the Straight Arm Reverse Fly Workout should use a higher level of resistance to challenge and build strength in the shoulder blades and back of the shoulders. Athletes who are performing a shoulder strengthening workout can pair the Straight Arm Reverse Fly with other shoulder strengthening exercises like the KB PowerBands Lateral Raise, KB PowerBands Overhead External Rotation, KB PowerBands Shoulder Press, or KB Duo Face Pull. Strengthening the additional muscles of the shoulders and upper back will help create strong powerful shoulders that help athletes be more explosive with their lower and upper body.
Use The Shoulder Blades For More Strength
There are many athletes who will experience shoulder and shoulder blade pain during their athletic careers. Along with the Straight Arm Reverse Fly athletes should incorporate two other shoulder blades exercises into their warm up routine. These two exercises are the KB PowerBands Overhead External Rotations and the KB PowerBands External Rotations. Combined with the Straight Arm Reverse Fly in a warm up routine athletes will be able to strengthen the muscles that form the rotator cuff. These muscles are very small and work to move the ball and socket joint in different directions. The ball and socket joint of the shoulder can move in nearly any direction. Therefore there are lots of these muscles running all over the shoulder and shoulder blades. Over irritation of these rotator cuff muscles can cause other muscles (like the upper trap and neck muscles) to help move the shoulder and complete movements.
Athletes can keep these rotator cuff muscles strong by performing 1-2 sets of 10-12 repetitions on each of these exercises. Athletes should perform these shoulder blades warm up routines before any upper body strength training or competition.
Athletes should also include a proportional amount of pulling and pushing exercises when training. This will ensure the lats and rhomboids stay strong and do not allow the shoulders and chest to overpower the back and shoulder blades.
Other Ways To Keep Shoulder Blades Healthy
Athletes can use the KB Duo and Recovery Foam Roller in addition to the shoulder blades warm up exercises. The KB Duo can be used to stretch the lats, chest, shoulders, and arms. Placing one hand in each handle athletes will face forward, fully extend their arms over their head, pull the shoulder blades back and down, and slightly sink down at the hips. Athletes will feel their lats and arms begin to stretch. Bringing both hands down to their side and pushing the hands back behind the body, athletes can further stretch the chest, shoulders and arms by fully extending the arms and placing one hand in each handle of the KB Duo. Athletes will fully extend their arms, squeeze their shoulder blades back and down, and slightly sink down at the hips.