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Bas Albinus

Subscapularis Release for shoulder pain/mobility

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Bas Albinus

Hello! Long time since I've posted or even been on the forum. I've kept up my gb routine since starting about 4years ago and made significant progress particularly in regards to mobility, full body tension, core stability. Strength wise I'm still somewhat struggling due to RA issues and injuries, which were the actual reason I switched to gb.

For some background: I used to lift in my 20ies picked up boxing at 30ish and after having had on n off shoulder issues forever I finally suffered a labrum tear in my right shoulder. I kept on training for a year until tendonitis and systemic inflammation were unbearable. After surgery 2016/17 I've been on a looooong and very slow path of recovery also inhibited by a herniated L5. GB helped a great deal setting up a reasonable and scalable exercise routine for recovery and to get better in the long run.

Over the years my shoulder mobility and isometric strength has returned and even improved to a good level BUT with frequent set backs from time to time. Most recently about 4months ago. The shoulder pain returned (most likely triggered by gluten sensitivity) and mobility is way down. 

To get to the point of my post: Just yesterday I tried some myofascial release of the subscapularis for the first time - and it's like a revelation! Depending on which spots I was pressing my thumb in my armpit against the scapula it triggered insane pain all over my upper right thoracic. From the neck shoulder, pec, biceps tendon and posterior rotator cuff, triceps, serratus anterior etc. 

Most significantly a burning tear like sensation in the posterior capsule around the teres minor/ infraspinatus heads and the inner upper arm/triceps head leaving some superficial numbness in these areas. The release feeling is intense though! I feel like I finally found the root cause of all my shoulder pain and limited rom.

Now I'd like to tap in and find out more how to release, mobilize the subscapularis.

I've been doing deadhangs. That seemed to aggravate the impingement issue at times though. Switching to a supinated grip recently seemed to help with that and increased stretch on the serratus anterior.

Scap shrugs also seem to hit the right area, while aggravating it at times.

External rotation has been really painful recently. 

Also hanging leg raises have been a bad idea, because I engage the biceps, lats and obviously the subscapularis too much. 

Any suggestions on exercises to release, stretch, increase mibility?! Thanks in advance!! 

 

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Alessandro Mainente
1 hour ago, Bas Albinus said:

Hello! Long time since I've posted or even been on the forum. I've kept up my gb routine since starting about 4years ago and made significant progress particularly in regards to mobility, full body tension, core stability. Strength wise I'm still somewhat struggling due to RA issues and injuries, which were the actual reason I switched to gb.

For some background: I used to lift in my 20ies picked up boxing at 30ish and after having had on n off shoulder issues forever I finally suffered a labrum tear in my right shoulder. I kept on training for a year until tendonitis and systemic inflammation were unbearable. After surgery 2016/17 I've been on a looooong and very slow path of recovery also inhibited by a herniated L5. GB helped a great deal setting up a reasonable and scalable exercise routine for recovery and to get better in the long run.

Over the years my shoulder mobility and isometric strength has returned and even improved to a good level BUT with frequent set backs from time to time. Most recently about 4months ago. The shoulder pain returned (most likely triggered by gluten sensitivity) and mobility is way down. 

To get to the point of my post: Just yesterday I tried some myofascial release of the subscapularis for the first time - and it's like a revelation! Depending on which spots I was pressing my thumb in my armpit against the scapula it triggered insane pain all over my upper right thoracic. From the neck shoulder, pec, biceps tendon and posterior rotator cuff, triceps, serratus anterior etc. 

Most significantly a burning tear like sensation in the posterior capsule around the teres minor/ infraspinatus heads and the inner upper arm/triceps head leaving some superficial numbness in these areas. The release feeling is intense though! I feel like I finally found the root cause of all my shoulder pain and limited rom.

Now I'd like to tap in and find out more how to release, mobilize the subscapularis.

I've been doing deadhangs. That seemed to aggravate the impingement issue at times though. Switching to a supinated grip recently seemed to help with that and increased stretch on the serratus anterior.

Scap shrugs also seem to hit the right area, while aggravating it at times.

External rotation has been really painful recently. 

Also hanging leg raises have been a bad idea, because I engage the biceps, lats and obviously the subscapularis too much. 

Any suggestions on exercises to release, stretch, increase mibility?! Thanks in advance!! 

 

Hi Bas, pay attention that burning sensation is usually related to nerve pinching.

My question is if you have never had a general posture assessment.

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Bas Albinus

No I haven't. At least not really since childhood. I know I have a bit too much of an S-curved spine and a little bit of a my lateral shift in my lumbar spine. 

Shoulders have been somewhat rounded and tight as hell from boxing. That's gotten a lot better through gb mobility work. 

So if I press into my armpit to release  the subscapularis region what should I watch out for? The tearing sensation is intense when I hit the spot and mobility increases instantly, but it definitely goes along with some nerve impingement hence the superficial numbness in my terres minor and upper triceps area. 

Its the opposite reaction I get from doing weighted shoulder extensions. Those  tend to make this region cramp up at the top of the movement (only right shoulder where I had surgery). Forward xiaopengs are also a little icky at the transition from flexion to extension.

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Alessandro Mainente
20 hours ago, Bas Albinus said:

No I haven't. At least not really since childhood. I know I have a bit too much of an S-curved spine and a little bit of a my lateral shift in my lumbar spine. 

Shoulders have been somewhat rounded and tight as hell from boxing. That's gotten a lot better through gb mobility work. 

So if I press into my armpit to release  the subscapularis region what should I watch out for? The tearing sensation is intense when I hit the spot and mobility increases instantly, but it definitely goes along with some nerve impingement hence the superficial numbness in my terres minor and upper triceps area. 

Its the opposite reaction I get from doing weighted shoulder extensions. Those  tend to make this region cramp up at the top of the movement (only right shoulder where I had surgery). Forward xiaopengs are also a little icky at the transition from flexion to extension.

I'm sorry but this post is moving into the field where i'm not specialyzed.

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Bas Albinus

Well, to go back to the initial question: 

What are some good exercises/practices to target subscapularis strengthening and release in particular? 

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Matthew Walker

You should go see an upper body specialist (I'd recommend somebody who does amputations and prosthetics as they're required to be god level experts with arteries, nerves, muscles in the upper body area). There's a lot of nerves and arteries that run through the thoracic region.

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Bas Albinus

Well, I live in Taiwan and it's close to impossible to find a good physio or orthopedist etc. 
I think I'm on to something with the subscapularis release. Ever since I tried myofascial release techniques on it things have changed for the better. Will keep that up and observe. 
Good tip from @Alessandro Mainente to pay attention to those burning sensations since it might be caused by nerve impingement. 

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