Daily Mobility Exercises by Dr. Kelly Starrett Forums General FMS Shoulder Mobility Help

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    • #71055

      Hi all!

      Just had a FMS (functional movement screen done) with the blaring deficiency on the shoulder mobility screen.  Scored a 2 on one side and 1 on the other.  
      There is a bone spur on my right humerus right under my deltoids.  When I was a kid you could actually see this bulge move when i would rotate humerus.  
      Hand size is 9.  Left = 22 and Right = 13.5.  When my RIGHT hand is on the bottom and rotates under that’s where the big difference is.  Both practitioners (had test done twice now – one works with pro athletes) have me doing the Thoracic Spine Rotation corrective laying on my side while stabilizing the lumbar with a knee pressing on support.  
      I’ll definitely keep doing the prescriptions, however, when I do this shoulder mobility test (especially when my right arm goes on bottom) I can feel it wonky in my right shoulder about where that spur is.  It is not painful – just feels “ugly” as KStar would say.  
      My question is A) I don’t really get how the T-Spine mobility/immobility plays into this shoulder mobility.  Again I feel the immobility in the deltoid area, not in my T-Spine.  I feel it where that spur is.  It kind doesn’t allow me to bend my elbow all the way when I rotate it back behind me like that.    
      Also the 2nd practitioner that works with athletes says that some guy talks about Fascia Trains  and that RIGHT shoulder immobility could explain why I have been plagued all my life with LEFT psoas problems.  He said the shoulder has to be corrected first and gave me a whole workout program to do based on this.  Love to hear if anyone has experience with this and where I could learn more.
      Can anyone suggest any Mobility Wods that address the shoulder immobility I could do in addition to the correctives I have for T-Spine?  

    • #75047
      AvatarTom Matchinsky

      Thoracic flexion/extension and rotation set the stage for the shoulder to work properly. You have to clear any restrictions at the spinal level before you can really see what is happening at the shoulder and that is why they have you doing those correctives first. The fact you don’t extend and rotate will in the T-spine could be why the shoulder feels “ugly” at the spur. The lack of T-spine motion isn’t allowing for room for the shoulder to move through a proper ROM. Otherwise check through the free videos on the sight, there are hundreds or more about the shoulder. 

    • #75815
      AvatarKatie Hemphill

      Hey lowcountryboy,

      The shoulders, neck, and thoracic spine are all very interconnected. Your thoracic spine is the foundation on which your scapulae and shoulders move, so if it doesn’t work properly neither will they. Most significantly, if your t-spine is not able to extend (straighten) properly, it will limit your ability to move your arms overhead because it affects their starting position.
      Imagine your scapula as a raft on a lake. If you were standing on it, you could shift your weight to move the raft back and forth, side to side. It would have a lot of freedom. Now imagine that the lake was frozen, and how rigid the raft would become as a result. It’s the same with your shoulders: a stiff t-spine can’t move to accommodate the scapulae, and if the scapulae can’t move properly your shoulder range of motion becomes greatly reduced.
      The FMS approach to t-spine mobility seems to favour rotation, I suppose as means of attending to asymmetry in the region. I’ve found that performing more general mobility in t-spine extension (as is typically done on the MWOD) does a lot to open up the t-spine, which may make your rotation mobilization more effective when performed afterwards.
      Now, once you’ve made some improvements in your t-spine, a big part of correcting your screen is going to be restore mobility and stability to the scapulae. Your t-spine is the foundation for your scaps, but the scaps are the foundation for your arms. Once you learn how to stabilize your scapulae, you’ll understand the true scope of your mobility challenges, and have a more reliable and quality way to test/retest relevant movements.
      The MWOD does a pretty good job of explaining shoulder mechanics, so you should start to get the hang of it after a while, especially if you’re seeing some FMS practitioners. Just be uncompromising in the quality you demand of the movements you’re trying to improve. Remember that quality is the primary focus of corrective exercise, so make the movements you perform as basic as possible to move well.
      For example: I’m currently working to balance out the behind-the-back part of the shoulder mobility screen. Right now, after doing soft-tissue work to open up the stiff muscles on the back of my shoulder, my first stability exercise is nothing more than lying on my back with my elbow out to the side of my shoulder, carefully performing rep after rep of reaching my hand towards the ground, taking exquisite care to keep my shoulder from rolling forward. This has helped me understand where I run out of shoulder range of motion before my scap gets pulled out of place, and has helped me pattern that stability into my rotation at a very basic level.
      I have personally found improving internal rotation to be a huge challenge, one perpetuated by previously half-hearted attempts to correct it. Make sure you understand that long-term improvements to the screen can come very slowly, just like any improvements in training. Keep plugging away, and you’ll be way stronger for it in the end.
    • #75832
      AvatarChristina Kosmowski

      I do find that my T-Spine affects my overall shoulder range of motion greatly. I tend to find as my lat’s become tight without address I will loose significant ROM in my shoulders and they feel extremely tight and pop and crack actually. I find the most relief in Thoracic mobility exercises. I will post my fav below 

      Video # 3 I prefer Mob Technique @ 3:30 
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