A Low Shoulder on the Dominant Side? Corrective Exercise Can Help: Part 1

When observing clients/patients/athletes (c/p/a) I often notice that there dominant shoulder is lower than their recessive shoulder. I often notice that the pectoralis major on the low shoulder is not as developed as the other shoulder.

Have you seen this sign?

Have you seen this sign?

When looking for this in your people, the sings may not be so obvious…but sometimes they are!

Yes...this is obvious!

Yes...this is obvious!

A good test is to have your c/p/a sit down and lift the arm on the side of the low shoulder…there is a very good chance that the shoulder will elevate (shrug sign) first instead of the arm raising. This disrupts our scapulo-humeral rhythm. This will lead to rotator cuff tendinitis and impingement and other injuries for sure.

Impingement is no fun!

Impingement is no fun!

So what are some of the shortened and over-active muscles in this scenario?

  1. levator scapulae
  2. pectoralis minor
  3. latissimus dorsi/teres minor
  4. rhomboids
This muscle can tilt the scapulae anteriorly and restrict upward rotation

This muscle can tilt the scapulae anterior and restrict upward rotation

*these muscles can downwardly rotate and depress the scapulae

Someof the inhibitted and comparitivley weaker muscles are;

  1. serratus anterior
  2. lower trapezius
  3. upper trapezius

*these muscles can upwardly rotate the scapulae and assist to keep the scapulae congruent with the thorax.

So what do you do about this? I will get into that in the next post:)

For the meantime, look for low shoulders, have your c/p/a’s sit and raiser the arm on their low shoulder to see what happens. Next, the Corrective Exercise Strategy to improve this scenario.

Thank you so much for reading!

Eric Beard
Corrective Exercise Specialist
CEO A-Team

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