The subscapularis is one of the four muscles of the rotator cuff that together have a role of keeping the head of the humerus within the glenoid cavity. The subscapularis is actually the largest and most powerful of the 4 rotator cuff muscles (Keating JF, JBJB, BR. 1993).
This muscle originates on the subscapular fossa of the scapula and inserts onto the lesser tuberosity of the humerus, which creates movement at the shoulder and more specifically the gleno-humeral joint into internal rotation and horizontal adduction. The tightness of the subscapularis is often the culprit of limited external rotation and commonly results in shoulder impingement. This is often due to our lifestyle, which has many of us living and working with our shoulders in an internally-rotated position, while working at a computer or driving for hours at a time.
What is something you can do at home to assist in this limited range of motion and allow you to improve your posture?
Try this release technique:
1. Start in a side-lying position and allow the shoulder blade to abduct/protract.
2. Feel around with your fingers to find the areas of restriction or trigger points within this muscle. You will push under your arm pit and push down on your shoulder blade. Once you have found these trigger points, go ahead and push firmly into this spot using a hard ball, as you then take this muscle through its range of motion by going into external rotation.
3. You can repeat for a couple minutes or until you feel as if the tissue has released. To make sure this is effective, always do a test-retest and see if your shoulder external rotation has improved.
Complete this self-release technique daily to see a marked improvement. Along with this home release technique, it is imperative to couple it with a postural strength training program to reduce this muscle’s (and many others) tendency to go back to a shortened position. The Exercise Physiologists at Optimum Health Solutions can develop an individualised program to improve your postural inadequacies.