October Mobility Application Month

This month is Mobility Application Month! In August, we gave you daily mobility exercises to incorporate into your morning, work, and evening routines. Now it's time to put those daily practices to use. We will apply the knowledge and efforts gained from August's mobility focus in order to increase position awareness and improve bio mechanical positioning.

Each week we will highlight one of the skill/strength movements that we practice in a more in-depth mechanical level. Understanding the human anatomy will help you understand our cueing, and even more so, appreciate the detail required with proper movement. Practice makes permanent, so it is important to practice as close to a perfect movement as possible!

The Over-Head Squat (OHS)

We have two over-head positions: wide and narrow grip. The differences are structural and muscular. Regardless of which position you choose, you must follow certain guidelines. To understand these guidelines, we will take a look at the over-head anatomy.

The main muscles involved in holding something over-head are the rotator cuff muscles (shown in figure (a)). The wider you spread your hands, the more forces are loaded onto these muscles. This is not an ideal method, as it can produce undesirable outcomes. The more narrow you set your hands, the more the over-head weight will settle structurally over your scapula (or shoulder blades). In general, you should work into a narrow grip and master the narrow grip OHS before worrying about a heavier wide-grip OHS. The narrow grip OHS requires functional range of motion (ROM) of the scapula (show in video (b)). Most of you will want to avoid the narrow grip because "it is hard" and "isn’t cool” to not lift something heavy. This is an unacceptable train of thought! You need scapular ROM, or you will likely have thoracic (upper back) problems.

(a) The rotator cuff muscles.
(a) The rotator cuff muscles.

[huge_it_video_player id="7"] (b) Functional range of motion (ROM) of the scapula.

Once you have mastered the narrow grip OHS position, you can alternate with the wide grip, increasing load and adding more work capacity to your deltoid/shoulder muscles. Regardless of your choice, the one cue you will hear repeatedly from us is external rotation. External rotation can be imagined by turning a doorknob clockwise (with your right hand), or counter clockwise (with you left hand). This essentially turns your humeral head (bicep arm bone) into its humeral labral (shoulder socket) safely and allows compression and load to occur at the shoulder. Also, with a drastically decreased possibility of the humeral bone wobbling, sliding, or damaging the labrum. Motion imaging of external rotation at a muscular and structural level are shown in video (c)- muscular, and (d)- skeletal.

[huge_it_video_player id="2"] (c) External rotation at a muscular level.

 [huge_it_video_player id="4"] (d) External rotation at a structural level.