SANTA CLARA, California, January 17. TODAY, Dr. G. John Mullen helps our swimmers with a way to help relax the shoulder in today's Dryland Tip of the Week. The activity involves using a mobility stick to to loosen up a rotator cuff muscle.
Purpose: The subscapularis is a rotator cuff muscle on the front of the shoulder blade which is commonly tight due to the amount of strokes taken in swimming. This muscle is active during the catch phase (internal/medial rotation) of swimming. If this muscle is overactive and develops trigger points, it prevents ideal force production, impairs movement patterns (biomechanics), and increases one's risk for shoulder injury.
Directions: Slightly round your shoulder blades to bring your shoulder blade to the side of your thoracic spine (body cavity; this will bring your armpit to the outside of your body). Slowly, insert the end of a Pro-Tec Roller Massager (or other mobility stick) into your armpit. Slowly add force through the stick into your armpit, while attempting to relax the arm not holding the stick. Hold for approximately 60 – 180 seconds.
G. John Mullen is the owner of the Center of Optimal Restoration and creator of Swimming Science. He received his doctorate in Physical Therapy at the University of Southern California. G. John has been featured in Swimming World Magazine, Swimmer Magazine, and the International Society of Swim Coaches Journal.