Face Pulls is an exercise used to work the rhomboids, posterior deltoid and external rotators of the shoulder. This is an excellent exercise for athletes to do because it helps balance out all the pressing they typically do. Make sure that when coaching this exercise you place your fingers on the thoracic spine between the scapulae to cue the athlete and prevent substitution.
Have the athlete assume a wide base of support. Attach a rope to the cable and place it at where approximately 90 degrees of shoulder flexion occurs. Have the athlete grasp the end of the rope with a pronated grip and elbows extended. Next, cue the athlete to pull the rope toward their face while simultaneously externally rotating the shoulders. The end position should show the “V” part of the rope close to the face with the elbows flexed and shoulders externally rotated. Make sure to look for substitutions at the low back region.
The Low Trap Stability Ball Exercise is an exercise that works on both strength and balance of the scapulae. This exercise strengthens the lower trapezius and other scapula depressors. Additionally, it challenges the individual’s motor control. As we know, the evidence has shown how important the scapula is in rehabilitation. By challenging the scapula stabilizers and strengthening the commonly weak scapula depressors, clinicians can use this exercise to progress the patient’s rehabilitation program.
Sit on the end of a bench. Place two stability balls of equal height directly behind the bench. With your back facing the stability balls, place each hand on a stability ball. Keeping an upright position, press into the balls with each hand by depressing your shoulders/scapulae. Hold the contracted position for a count of 7-10 seconds. When coaching this exercise make sure to look for substitutions of hyperextension at the low back or substitution of the triceps.
This exercise is a great mobility exercise to get the thoracic spine moving and open up the rib cage. Almost everyone can benefit from this exercise and there are many reasons why this can be an effective tool for your athletes, weekend warriors, or clinic patients. Most of us sit in front of the computer for a good chunk of the day and whether we want to admit it or not we don’t usually keep a good posture during that time.
When we look at an individual with an anterior pelvic tilt we often see the thoracic spine rounding to compensate so we can stay upright. Furthermore, if that individual has rounded shoulders with short pecs, the t-spine is furthermore flexed. How about the athlete with an internal rotation deficit due to the rotator cuff being short? Every time that athlete goes to throw or reach they have to substitute with scapular winging or thoracic flexion to compensate. The point is that there are many different reasons why this exercise can be beneficial to your toolbox and it’s a very easy way to start getting mobility back in the t-spine.
Lie on your back in the hookline position. Place the foam roller underneath the shoulder blades (inferior angle of the scapula) to start. Bend the elbows and grasp the back of you head. Slowly extend backwards over the foam roller. After a few repetitions bring the foam roller higher up your scapula and repeat. Make sure to keep your feet and glutes on the floor at all times and to not extend at the cervical or lumbar regions.