Scapulohumeral rhythm is the coordinated movement that should occur between the shoulder and scapulocostal joints during all movements of the arm. Learning more about scapulohumeral rhythm will better inform your own practice, refine the biomechanical accuracy of your verbal cues and hands-on assists, and help keep your shoulder joints happy and healthy.
In the first video in this series we explored the anatomy and movements available at the shoulder and scapulocostal joints. In the second video we explored how movements of the shoulder joint should be coupled with movements of the scapulocostal joint to ensure safe, efficient biomechanics at the shoulder joint complex that will help prevent injury. In the third video we explored shoulder impingement syndrome... some of its causes and recommendations for how to prevent it. One of those recommendations was to strengthen the muscles of the rotator cuff... so in this video we review the muscles of the rotator cuff and offer a variety of ways to help strengthen them.
In subsequent videos we'll explore verbal cues and hands-on assists that might sabotage scapulohumeral rhythm within a variety of postures, and alternative cues and assists that will help support this rhythm and create more stability.
Your comments and observations are welcome. Please share with anyone whom you think might benefit!
It's a relatively common occurrence for newer yoga students to practice Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (upward-facing dog pose) without effectively mobilizing their scapulae. The result is collapsed shoulders that crowd the ears, inefficient thoracic extension, and shearing forces that create stress at the acromio- and sternoclavicular joints. Engaging the lower and middle trapezius muscles to depress and retract the scapulae will elevate the trunk, broaden the collar bones, extend the thoracic spine, open the heart and create a more skillful line of force through the clavicles into the sternum. Check out these great images from Yoga Functional Anatomy, as well as a short video clip on this subject from one of the ASFYT-3 classes!
The day I first learned about the adductor magnus in massage school was a great day... one of those light-bulb moments that would become so common as I dove deeper into the study of anatomy. Our instructor was covering all of the muscles of the inner thigh that day - adductor this, adductor that, and I was trying to focus but it was hard because I felt like I already knew all I needed to know about the adductors, which is that they can adduct the thighs when they contract, and that you'd just abduct the thighs to stretch them. But then we got to the adductor magnus and the teacher said:
While I probably shouldn’t have favorites, I do confess to having a special fondness for the piriformis. It’s got a super cool name that just kind of rolls off the tongue (click here to hear it pronounced), it feels great to stretch it, and when it’s flexible it’ll add much more sukha to your Sukhasana (Comfortable pose) and make postures like Eka Pada Galavasana (Flying Crow) more accessible. However, if it’s tight it will limit the ability of the femur to laterally rotate within the hip joint, which has a lot of potentially not-so-great consequences (both on and off the yoga mat). By taking the time to learn more about this little muscle you’ll be able to more skillfully stretch it in your own practice and help your students find ways to safely stretch it in theirs.