Shoulder Clock

January 28, 2016

Does it hurt to move your arm up over your head? Are you fearful of moving the arm because it will hurt? There may be a way for you to move it further without pain…MOVE THE BODY INSTEAD.

Below is a video of me doing a simple movement that has been very beneficial for myself and clients. Here is a brief description of how to do it and why.

  1. Lie on your back (I love the ground). On the ground you automatically become more stable because more of your body surface is in contact with it. Your nervous system takes the brakes off movement by relaxing. It doesn’t feel as vulnerable. Less vulnerability means more movement.
  2. Put a hand on the wall (palm side) fingers pointed down to the ground to comfort level. You can start with the finger tips and then flatten the hand as you move around the clock. This position elongates flexion fascial lines in the arm and takes you into extension. Involving the wrist is helpful because wrist mobility issues and fascial tension often lead to shoulder problems. It keeps you externally rotated as well, away from the chronic poor internal rotation posture of today. Think human cashew!
  3. Bend your knees and feet flat. Move your torso like arms on a clock. So the body is the arm, not the arm. Make sense? 🙂 Go as far as you can comfortably. You may notice you get further than when standing. Return and repeat 10 times. Go slow and be mindful.
  4. Now try a variation where your legs are straight and you move around the clock. Different pattern that may be more challenging. It takes some timing for your brain to coordinate this movement strategy.

A few mindful points:

Try to keep the back of the shoulder close to the ground. Rolling forward in the shoulder to get further simply takes the force somewhere else. Quality is more important than quantity. It’s not a race to the finish line.

You can control movement patterns in several ways:

  • Height
  • Distance
  • Direction
  • Speed
  • Load

So for this movement you can change the height of the hand on the wall. The distance you are from the wall. by bending the elbow to different angles. The direction you place your fingers (fingers towards ceiling example). Speed change around the clock and stopping at moments to feel the motion. Pressing into the wall to increase the load.

Why can it be helpful? The shoulder is the first load bearing joint in the body. The body generates force around the anchor point. Think crawling. Taking it back to a fixed anchor point in which the body moves around the shoulder can help restore movement memory. Anchor and move the pillar (whole body).

Give it a try and don’t forget to do the non painful side too. The body works in pairs. There’s a reason you have two arms and legs…they work together. Often you will discover the painful side is hurting because of dysfunction on the non-painful side. Always work both.

‘Where you think it is, it, ain’t.’ -Ida Rolf

Move. Play. Smile. Heal

Have fun