In Episode 61 we introduced optimal mechanics during the full shoulder overhead motion. The glenohumeral joint aka the shoulder is so interesting because it demands chronologic, selective muscle recruitment. The trapezius muscles aka traps, activate at specific times with balanced force couples to help move the arm overhead. Work, hobbies, sports, and performing repeated movements creates movement patterns in the brain, good or bad. Altered muscle activity and recruitment patterns may increase stress on passive structures and cause mechanical pain or injury.
Based on research, we speculate overhead athletes are more likely to recruit the upper traps early prior to lower or middle trap leading to a timing issue. Also low trap, mid trap, and serratus anterior activity may decrease, and upper trap, pec minor, and levator scapula may increase.
How do we fix this? We have to teach the brain to learn a new movement pattern. Learning and performing selective muscle activation during specific movements is a way to tap into the nervous system. Here we are showing one way to train the brain, utilize biofeedback. Here we are showing surface electrodes placed on the upper trapezius. Listen to the different cues Mike provides me and listen to the change in muscle activity measured by the biofeedback.
We get it, not everyone has this machine at their disposal. Visual and tactile cues aka a mirror and your hands can be utilized to increase target muscle activation. Exercise choice and body position also change muscle activation. Stay tuned for the exercises this week!
Cools et al. 2013 "rehab of scapular dyskinesis: from the office worker to the elite overhead athlete"