Tennis Ball Mobilization- Back of Shoulder
In this post I’m going to show you how to use the tennis ball to mobilize the muscles in the back of your shoulder. This includes the small rotator cuff muscles as the sneak through the shoulder from their origin on the back of the shoulder blade, as well as, the larger deltoid, lat dorsi, and tricep muscles. The goal with this mobilization is to anchor one end of the muscle down and then actively stretch out the rest the muscle against it.
1) Go back and read the massage post specifically on the back of the shoulder itself to review the body landmarks and muscles in this region. The main area you will need to be able to locate for this mobilization is the major intersection area for the muscles in the back of the shoulder. To find it you can use the spine of the scapula. To start, place your hand on top of your opposite shoulder. Underneath you fingertips will be a long ridge of bone. Follow it out towards your shoulder and move just below it. Another way to do it is to reach under your arm. From here you'll be able to easily feel the edge of the shoulder blade. We're looking for the area between the edge of the shoulder blade and the humerus (long upper arm bone) where all of the small muscles go. See the video below for further details.
2) The first part in this move is to position the tennis ball while laying on your back and then rolling over onto your side. This will apply pressure to the tennis ball and also keep it from rolling out of place. The second part is the actual movement. Start with your arm out straight at your side and then try to pull it up and across your chest. You may not be able to go very far (if it's comfy you can even apply a little pressure with your other hand; make sure it doesn't hurt!!). See the video below for a demonstration. We're trying to anchor down those muscles while they are in a short position and then stretch them out from there. Go easy. This is a sensitive spot. Build through the reps if you need to. If it's still too sensitive, bend your elbow at the start and stay on your back.
3) Try to perform 10 reps.
4) Same warm up rules apply. Try to do this either following a workout or warm up the area with the foam roller first. Especially if you’re coming back from an injury or this is a problem area.