You will never look at scapular stability the same again!

Posted: August 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

Most of you are probably familiar with the Joint by Joint approach coined by Mike Boyle.

In a nutshell, our bodies are essentially a stack of joints that alternate in the type of motion they crave. The foot wants stability, ankle wants mobility, knee wants stability, and on up the chain.

Using this approach, we arrive at the scapulo-thoracic joint. According to Coach Boyle’s theory, the scapulo-thoracic joint craves stability, and most rehab and training professionals write programs accordingly.

Here are a few common exercises used to create this stability:

Ok, maybe not the second one. But seriously, if I ever hired a trainer, she would be it! Honestly, how can you not smile when watching this?

I digress…

I had the pleasure of sitting in on a FMS Combo course this weekend and was fortunate to be grouped with a bunch of brilliant personal trainers and strength coaches. During one of the breaks I asked what they do while training a client who needs scapular stability (basically every person on earth) yet has no idea that their scapula actually has the ability to protract and retract. I guess similar to glut amnesia, we can call this scapular amnesia.

My thought was (is) basically that I’m not sure these people have earned the right to have scapular stability training. I tend to think they should first learn how to move their scapulae into protraction and retraction properly and then proceed to lock it in with stability.

Gray Cook always says mobility before stability yet I’m not sure he had this in mind. I’m also not sure it doesn’t apply here.

Any type of manual therapist will make a good chunk of their living treating neck pain. And, I think the people reading this blog generally understand that simply rubbing the neck won’t always make it better. The company line is,

A neck problem is never just a neck problem. A tight hamstring is never just a tight hamstring

My point is, we have established that treating only the site of pain certainly is not the answer. But, I believe the next step in the process is now figuring out what needs to be stabilized and what needs to be mobilized. A better way I’ve heard it described: does it need duct tape or WD-40?

So really, it’s just a question I guess: Does a joint that craves stability, in fact need to first learn proper mobility?


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