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When should we NOT wrap the shoulders

Updated: Oct 14, 2019

One of the basic moves in Forrest Yoga is to ‘wrap the shoulders’ - this GENIUS cue helps to stabilise the scapula in such a way that serratus anterior is able to carry force from your core and guts and into your shoulders and arms.

You can try it by doing a standard elbow to knee but wrap the shoulders as you pull the lower belly down.

In the last year I have been fascinated by compensation patterns and have been paying attention to my shoulders because the right one was taking a little longer than usual to recover. Turned out that when I wrap my shoulders in poses where both shoulders need to be wrapped, the right one does most of the work.

Un-learning this took MONTHS! I had to have regular bodywork in the area to calm it down and I emphasised on not doing so many pushing movements on my right side.

So what did I do when I came to working the right shoulder? I activated the muscles that help me pull......

It’s too much to go into all of the pushers and pullers of the shoulders right here, but we can discuss how serratus anterior (the pusher) as a very interesting relationship with rhomboids (pulls shoulder blade towards spine).

They have an antagonist relationship as well as a synergistic one.

Typically speaking, when serratus is short, rhomboid is long. When rhomboid is long, it’s harder to activate it, when serratus is short at the same time it means rhomboid has to work so much harder to pull back against it.

Do this exercise instead to reconfigure the relationship between these areas.



By activating this muscle 2 things happen......

When rhomboid is persistently activated, it creates a stabilisation in the shoulder joint, you will feel it in downward, dolphin & turbodog right away. The need for more stability just means you need to keep going with rhomboid activation!

When these muscles are both fired to before movements they work synergistically to help improve rotation patterns.

Typically in rotation patterns we tend to favour one side..... but more about that another time.....


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