Serratus Anterior: The Big Swing Muscle

serratus anteriorYour serratus anterior muscles quietly work with other torso muscles to lengthen the reach of the arm by wrapping the scapula forward toward the chest. It’s the muscle we use when we rotate our arms upward, for example, when lifting or reaching for items over our heads. The power of a boxer’s punch and extend of reach also come from the serrates anterior assisting with your scapula protracting and retracting. Serratus stabilizes positioning of the arm and shoulder too, and that’s why it’s a target for yoga poses like turbo dog, downward facing dog at the wall, handstands, forearm balances, dolphin and wheel.

Continue reading “Serratus Anterior: The Big Swing Muscle”

Five Easy Stretches That Work

Studies about the benefits of stretching are mixed, but one thing that’s not in question is that stretching improves flexibility, which may improve your performance. Better flexibility can decrease your risk of injuries by helping your joints move easily through their full range of motion. Here are five easy stretches you can do before a workout, hike, or just to start your day.

NECK: Lower your right ear to your right shoulder. Lift your right arm and gently apply pressure with your left palm to the left side of your head increasing the stretch to your neck. Your left arm should dangle at your side with finger tips pointing toward the ground. Repeat on the other side.

Continue reading “Five Easy Stretches That Work”

Levator Scapula: The Shrug Muscles

leavatorscapsThe levator scapula muscles are muscles in your neck, one on each side, that run between the upper part of each shoulder blades (scapula) and join with the spine at the top four cervical vertebrae. It is a thin, flat muscle located just below the upper part of the trapezius.

The elevator scapula muscle elevates the scapula when you lift your arms, or shrug your shoulders. It also assists many other muscles in your neck and shoulders with rotation of the scapula and steering your glenohumeral joint.

The muscle is commonly overly used as a result of asymmetrical carrying, lifting or reaching with your arm.  Things like carrying a bag or backpack on one shoulder, holding your phone between your head and shoulder, or using a computer mouse can all cause stress on the levator scapulae muscles.

How do I know my levators are stressed? Continue reading “Levator Scapula: The Shrug Muscles”