Tightness in the posterior shoulder musculature can restrict shoulder mobility or hinder shoulder biomechanics with overhead activities and throwing. Specifically, the posterior deltoid, infraspinatus, trees major/minor and latissimus call all impact mobility. This exercise will help resolve tightness and trigger points in the posterior shoulder region.
Execution: Using a lacrosse or trigger point ball, place it between the wall and the back of the shoulder. Lean into the wall and while applying the desired amount of pressure, slowly move up/down, side-to-side and clockwise/counterclockwise over any tight and tender areas. You may also directly hold and compress restricted areas for 5-10 seconds at a time.
To increase the pressure, simply lean more into the wall. Perform this activity for 2-3 minutes prior to any specific stretching or dynamic movement to maximize mobility.
Dynamic progression: position the ball along the posterior deltoid and lean into the ball that is against the wall. While maintaining a level of firm compression throughout, slowly horizontally adduct the arm through the available range of motion. Repeat for 5-10 repetitions. You may alter the plane of movement to address specific tight areas as well. In addition, you may opt to perform horizontal internal rotation with compression as well.
Application: This exercise is designed to reduce tightness and trigger points that are common in the posterior shoulder. Tightness in this area can increase the risk of internal impingement, contribute to postural dysfunction and negatively impact shoulder mechanics for those involved in overhead and repetitive activities.
Soft tissue mobilization such as this should be done prior to stretching or dynamic warm-up activity to optimize movement patterns. For throwing athletes (especially pitchers and catchers), this is a beneficial exercise that can be done daily as part of an effective arm care program as well as corrective exercise regimen.