August 12, 2013

    Walking Tall – How to Release the Upper Body

    Last week (Sparta Point) we introduced the importance of focused soft tissue release instead of just “rolling out”. Today we will go into more detail on how to address your upper body soft tissue quality for improved posture, performance, and injury prevention.

    At Sparta, we talk a lot about posture;the positioning and relationship between body segments and structures. The resulting body position (angles) and force production are also determining factors for a Movement Signature that provide the foundation for skills like sprint and agility (Sparta Point). While the vertical jump can be thought of primarily as a lower body movement, upper body posture plays a part in each of the Movement Signature variables – LOAD, EXPLODE, and DRIVE.

    The most common upper body dysfunction that we see is a kyphotic thoracic spine and an internally rotated shoulder position. This poor posture limits shoulder ROM and puts the supporting structures like the rotator cuff and joint capsule in compromised positions.

    The result of this poor posture can be an excessive DRIVE on a Movement Signature, as well as more local shoulder impingement (Sparta Point). The goal of our upper body rolling out is to release tension and trigger points that will allow the shoulder girdle to return to a more efficient position.

    The key areas and subsequent tools that we combine are:

    • Spinal erectors and thoracic spine (using the peanut)

    • Pec minor (yoga block and lacrosse ball)

    • Rotator cuff – teres minor (lacrosse ball)

    • Lats and tricep (roller)

    How to Release the Upper Body

    Because so many of our daily activities, as humans and athletes, pull our shoulders out of position, it is important to have a strategy to combat the slow creep of deteriorating posture.  Out athletes spend ten minutes a day working on these specific upper body soft tissues in order to “reset” their tissue quality and maintain good posture. It is truly amazing to see athletes walk through the door looking several inches taller after several weeks of focused attention on their upper body tissues.

    The weight of life and sport can drag you down. What is your strategy to stay walking tall?

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