Next I want to apologize for not writing but with the circumstances my time was definitely tied up. We have also been conducting a Muscle Release Therapy, MRTh® certification course that is being taught by Angel Velotta, LMT~ who has been certified in Muscle Release Therapy, MRTh® for five years now and has a practice at Southwest General Hospital. We will once again be offering this course in the Fall of 2014. In addition to this course I have also been teaching an Anatomy of Movement course that has detailed the different movement patterns of the body.
I would also like to announce that beginning in January 2014 we will be offering on line continuing education courses for both the professional and lay person. These courses will be live and interactive so there will be actual demonstrations and the ability to ask and have questions answered at that time. They will also be recorded for future viewing. Watch for announcements on these courses over the next few weeks!
Now for the topic of this blog, recently, I gave a class on the "Core" group of muscles. For anyone that knows me, I am not a fan of how we perceive that word "Core". With that being said I do want to talk about the importance of what I refer to as an initiator muscle that engages all of the other 30+ muscles that make up the center of strength for movement. The Serratus Anterior muscle wraps around the side of the rib cage and, attaches' along the front side near the breast bone and on the back side along the border of the shoulder blade~close to the spine. This muscle performs the function of moving the shoulder blade and the rib cage in breathing and movement of the shoulder joint.
Recently, I showed two long time clients how they could use this muscle to improve ones' tennis game, and the other to be able to play her violin in concert without her shoulder hurting. We don't often think of the ribs or the shoulder blade to move in flexing and extending pattern but for this conversation we will use this definition. Any time a bony structure moves to the center that is flexion and away from center extension. In an upcoming web training that I will be teaching, I will go into greater depth on this topic.
With the tennis player we needed to help strengthen his forehand delivery. The first item on the agenda was to cue the brain that we needed to extend the upper extremity to its maximum length without putting stress on the shoulder joint. Most causes for "tennis elbow" is the abnormal tensions placed on the joints with too much emphasis on the shoulder which places the elbow under duress. So how did we do this? By the way the same advice was given to the violin player! We taught the individual to learn to engage/disengage the tendons of the fingers, especially the middle finger. When the tendons are disengaged it permits for a much smoother extension of the forearm and arm by removing the unnatural tension that is placed on the forearm extensor muscles of the forearm. When striking the ball the tension is re-engaged which now creates a dynamic tension on the forearm, and removes tension on the shoulder which allows the elbow to complete the follow through. His immediate report back was that he hadn't hit his forehand that well in years. Oh, by the way the violin player reported that she had no pain after her concert!
Where does the Serratus Anterior come into play on all of this? Prior to engaging any of your muscles one must learn to engage, not contract, this muscle. As this muscle engages it cues the brain into centering the entire body and prepares it for movement. On engagement it works with the Rhomboid (the muscle along the spine in the picture) and positions the shoulder blade properly to support general movement. The positioning sends the proper neurological information out to the body; no matter where the movement is being generated from, to create the proper tension to be applied to the right part of the skeleton. Remember all movement is just a readjustment of tensions on the skeleton, that is Tensegrity.
In closing, if you are exercising and they have you doing your back muscles the primary muscles that they are going to work on are these Rhomboids. Once again these muscles are to engage not contract and should not become dominant as your shoulder blades will then move off center and distort the proper centering and tension that is necessary for co-ordinated movement.
Please have a happy and joyous holiday season and remember there is always....
a Reason to HOPE!
Any and all questions and comments are appreciated.
Dennis Gibbons, LMT