Practice 28 – Sea-Saw Shoulders

See-Saw Shoulders

  I hope you have now got a good sense of feeling into your scapula’s (shoulder blades).  You also have a sense of how far up your arms go when you raise your arms and send your hands up into the air.

Before we move into this exercise, the theory in this practice is essential for you to understand.  This is the sagittal plane movement of the shoulder joints, however, the scapula (shoulder blades) are moving at the same time.

With the rocket arms movement, your scapulas naturally follow your hands and arms upwards with the momentum of the movement. This is a regular movement and is the natural thing to happen when raising your arms in the air.

  Now I want you to get a sense that your arm is like a see-saw, with the hand and forearm being one end, and the scapula and upper arm being the opposite end.  

This translates to the movement that, as your forearm and hand raise up, your scapulas draw backwards and downwards, and slightly inwards towards your spine.

1. Raise your arms very slowly in front of your body and upwards, keeping the palms of your hands facing each other.

2. Notice that your arms will naturally come to a stop before your fingers start to point upwards, as in the sideways view in the above image

3. This natural stop is where the range of movement of your shoulder joint finishes

4. Now bringing your attention to your scapulas, drawdown from the scapula (this is called retraction), and allow your arms to continue to move backwards, imagining that your hands and scapulas are opposite ends of a sea saw.

5. You can also experiment with whether your arms can now move further back than they did when your scapulas followed your arms in rocket arms

6. Repeat the sea-saw movement, (first the range of movement of your shoulder joint, and then your scapula) with your ribcage raised with the in-breath, and then with the ribcage sunk down on the out-breath position

7. Try and see if you feel a completely different range of movement depending on the tilt of your ribcage?

8. Now, using the sea-saw movement, what happens if your pelvis is anterior tilted when you send your arms back, can you feel a pinching or gathering in your lower back?

9. Now repeat the sea-saw movement with your hip flexors engaged and more of a posterior pelvic tilt, and notice if you get a smoother and deeper movement when you send your arms backwards behind your head

See-Saw Shoulders