Opening your shoulders.

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Enaji1
Posts: 7
Joined: 13 Nov 2019, 01:22

13 Nov 2019, 01:58

(Am doing episode 5) Can you explain in more detail about what I should feel when I have to ‘open my shoulders’? When I open my arms and push them behind my body, my shoulder blades come closer to my spine and my ribs reflexively want to stick out the front.Should I try and repress this reaction and always keep my ribs locked down?
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Natalie Reckert
Posts: 11
Joined: 17 Sep 2019, 21:14

13 Nov 2019, 22:11

Hi,

Thank you for using the Forum to ask your question.

Opening the shoulders in the handstand is a two way process.

One is developing a good shoulder opening standing up and arms raised above the head.
It is usually the first analiytical tool to determine someones shoulder mobility.
When mobility is restricted, the first landmark is to work on what you describe: the scapular mobility, the active strength to pull the shoulderblades down your back and slightly in towards the spine (and also to work on the passive flexibility in the muscles accross the front body).

The second step is to achieve a good shoulder opening in a handstand.
In the handstand itself you need to elevate the shoulders (push them up to your ears).
Pushing the shoulders up (you can also think of it as pushing the palms of your hands into the floor and slightly backwards) is the best contribution to your shoulder opening you can do in the actual handstand.
If your shoulders are super tight, you can fold your chin onto your chest and that will help too.

All non-handstand exercises that are aimed at opening the shoulders by pulling the shoulder blades down and back are aimed at preparing you to have the best starting position possible for your handstand.
So in an ideal world as soon as you raise the arms above your head to do the kick up your shoulders would be fully open, with the shoulder blades pulled down, and as your hands touch the ground you then elevate your shoulders to achieve both stability and length in the shoulderline.

As you have noticed well, shoulder opening and the ribs are not best friends :)
One wants to make the other compensate for it's shortcomings....
Raising the arms above the head will make your ribs want to stick out - Pushing your ribs back in will close your shoulders.
If that is the case, work more on shoulder flexibility, especially along the sides of the shoulders and the rotator cuff muscles.
With good upper body mobility your shoulders can be fully open, while the ribs stay relatively flat.

Here are two videos that may help you (the second one is from my early Youtube days but still has some good exercises):
https://youtu.be/NNyHi-tSmdE
https://youtu.be/_-sysI-dGAQ

Hope that helps you.
Best wishes
Enaji1
Posts: 7
Joined: 13 Nov 2019, 01:22

14 Nov 2019, 04:19

Thank you for replying. I did some of the exercises in the 2nd video before I did episode 5 and it helped me feel what my shoulder blades were doing and where my restrictions are.
Enaji1
Posts: 7
Joined: 13 Nov 2019, 01:22

16 Nov 2019, 03:44

Also your comment, ‘ pushing the palms of your hands into the floor and slightly backwards‘ was very helpful.
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Natalie Reckert
Posts: 11
Joined: 17 Sep 2019, 21:14

17 Nov 2019, 17:10

Great,

Thank you, that's useful for me to know. !
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