The infraspinatus is nestled in the infraspinous fossa of the scapula and attaches the greater tubercle of the humerus. With muscle fibers running horizontally, infraspinatus works with teres minor in external rotation, adduction and stabilization of the shoulder. It is one of four rotator cuff stabilizing muscles along with supraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis. Infraspinatus is the second most common culprit of rotator cuff problems and can be a contributor in frozen shoulder. Pitching, pulling a lawn mower cord and even side sleepers whose arms are externally rotated and under head are actions that contribute to injury and overuse. The infraspinatus can be very tender and get little caring attention.
Create a new soft tissue relationship with your shoulders: start by getting real with the issues in your tissues through shoulder self massage! This Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Ball video will show you how to roll, knead, realign and redefine your infraspinatus muscle to its optimal health so you can feel good in your body.
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To avoid injuries it’s very important to be aware where the muscles that cause pain are located. Often we use and over use the muscles in way that are not proper for the mobility of an specific muscles. The self massage that you can do with the therapy balls is an excellent way to awake that proprioception of our body and alleviate .
This is very helpful for myself being a side sleeper and climber. This video was a great review of how to use the YTU balls and how to find those muscles.
This is a great little sequence. I especially liked massaging the infraspinatus on the wall. It lets you control the depth of pressure, which is important for me in this spot as it’s quite tender.
Thanks for the great demonstration on how to roll the infraspinatus and teres minor. This video helped me locate exactly where to place my ball to roll these muscles out.
Thanks for the video! I work with a lot of people who play tennis and golf so this was very helpful for ways to help them find and roll out their infraspinatus. So simple yet so essential for happy shoulders!
I love this video Sandy! Anyone who’s a side sleeper will benefit from adding this to their self care toolkit. Great illustration of how to find your infraspinatus and great reminder of how our yoga tune up balls can be used anywhere, any time!
Ahhhh, my infraspinatus and my dog thanks you. I’ve been trying to train my rescue pup to be off a leash by using a 70 ft long line that I have to lasso in when he doesn’t listen. My infraspinatus has been doing so much work to reel him in and sustained compression and stripping just wasn’t cutting it for the relief I needed. The rocking motion against the wall is genius and provided me lots of relief so I can be more patient while training this pup!
This video is so helpful! I loved the ball rolling we did on the scapula in YTU level 1 training this week, but I couldn’t remember the exact location to place the balls and the different actions I could use. It is now crystal clear. I have had many students with rotator cuff problems, so I can’t wait to share these techniques. Thank you for the video AND all the loving support and knowledge you provided this week assisting the training.
You rocked that ball class today!!! This was the first time that I’ve ever done ball rolling with The Yoga Tune Up® balls on my back. I’ve always had a million trigger points in my infra and teres minor and it causes great pain and decreased range of motion for me. Your class positutely took me to the happy place. Thank you Sandy! The suboccipitals rocked too!!!! Orgasmic!
I really appreciate this post as I have had to recover from an accident 4 yrs ago and have had chiropractic, acupuncture treatments to manage my pain. I tried this tonight and noticed my shoulder is more relaxed and comfortable. I liked that u used a reflective door that I could see the reflection of the position of the ball. This is wonderful. Thank you.
I get shoulder pain and I try to roll out my pwc minor thinking that is the culprit but it might actually be the infraspinatus. Thank you for sharing with us.
Thank you for this post. A couple of years ago, sleeping funny on my left shoulder one night left me with months of discomfort and years of rehabbing through self-therapy. I’ve largely focused on rolling out my upper back, without much attention to my shoulder blades. How much tension there was! Looking forward to kneading them out with these techniques.
Sandy, your video was very helpful in showing how to locate the infraspinatous and ball rolling techniques. I appreciate your clear and concise instructions, and it’s great how you took the rolling out of your studio and showed how easy it is to roll “anywhere!” My balls come with me on all my vacations and anytime I travel long and even short-ish distances. I have a set in my office and several sets at home. I’ve yet to use them outside – what a great idea! Can’t wait to try this and to share this ball rolling of the infraspinatous with my rock climbing friends!
Those pesky shoulder rotators! Not only are they surprisingly fragile, they are a huge blind spot for most people. The video you posted was very helpful in showing how to create movement. I am a classic ‘side sleeper’ but did not realize this was a culprit in my shoulder issues. I am not sure I can change my sleep patterns but I can certainly combat the nasty side effects now. Thanks.
Thank you for this incredibly helpful video.
The YTU therapy balls massaged on the infraspinatus can be an awesome part of preventative care to bring blood flow and healing to the fascia surrounding this awesome muscle. It also demonstrates the
importance of making sure you get full and balanced range of motion in shoulder movements to prevent over stretching and overstregnthening of this muscle.
Thank you for the article and video. I did this rollout in training and it made a difference for me immediately. I appreciate your specific directions since I was too blissed out while rolling to absorb the anatomical specifics in class.
Hi Sandy. Great video and thanks so much for posting it. I am working with some athletes with “one-sided” shoulder issues and others with tightness throughout upper back, limited movement, and rotator cuff issues. I have spent alot of time using the YTU balls on the upper back (and elsewhere for release) with these students. But oddly enough it wasn’t until I took the recent anatomy class in NYC (March 2014) with you and Lillee (and Dineen and Ariel!) that I actually rolled my infraspinatus. How could I have missed that? Crazy. It was an amazing experience for me to roll-out this area and I found an openness I had not experienced before. Yet another piece of the puzzle. Thank you for helping me to find it. At my class this Friday, I introduced rolling out the infraspinatus and my students were amazed and exhilerated. I love seeing the expressions on their faces and the suppleness in their bodies after a good roll!! The instructions you provided will be super useful for them to take off the mat and out into their lives. They all have their balls, so whether they are getting ready to get on the field, work in the yard, hit the court , or just get up our of bed, they can roll wherever they are. Great therapy and maybe even better prevention!
I have a student who was talking to me the other night about her shoulder issue, and when she told me what the doctor had said, she used a word i hadn’t heard before. I’m just realizing that she was trying to say infraspinatus!
I love this video! Thanks for posting one. People really need to learn about their bodies. Most people think the rotator cuff is a singular thing. I love how in this video you explain it is one of 4 and you also explain how the infraspinatus is used in everyday life. Great stuff!
Thank you for the video…very good description of the infraspinatus and how to find it…I did this sequence and it was really yummy!
Thank you for your video, it helped me to recapitulate what was tought during my YTU class. I am still trying to figure out whether sleeping with my arm overhead, stretched out and internally rotated is as harmful as externally rotated and flexed as in under one`s head. Do you have a quick answer on this? Thanks!
I totally sleep with my arm pinned over head!! I try not to but I end up there all the time. Lately, it’s been concerning me because I know that it will show up as a problem if I don’t change that. Thanks for the tutorial on how to roll out the infraspinatus!
Thank you for the wall demo using the YTU Therapy Balls. It is my new favorite to roll out the rotator cuff muscles. And I appreciate the detail of how to find the infraspinatus and the dynamic arm movement to create greater release.
Thank you for highlighting the connection between sleep position and shoulder function. Great video to visually illustrate the connection. The doorknob ext-int rotation technique is spicy and I love it for getting into my locked-long infraspinatus. I’m looking forward to testing the difference in my bench press with more function in my external rotators now!
Thanks Sandy! The video was Thorough and I Thoroughly enjoyed it. It was detailed, informative, enjoyable to watch and i found my infraspinatus right away among other yummy spots 🙂
As a former “meat head” and “sophisticated” baseball player, I can appreciate the importance of the Infraspinatus. Without this invaluable muscle, every time I bench or throw that “rocket” from right field, I would put my body (shoulder, elbow, forearm) in jeopardy of injury.
External rotation of the arm is exceptionally important in dynamic movements like throwing a ball or pressing a bar. Securing the elbow joint, ensuring shoulder stability in coordination with the range of motion of the wrist are all crucial components of such actions like throwing. Slide and glide of the Infraspinatus is key in the harmony of developing that “Laser Arm.”
Excellent mapping of the Infraspinatus. That rotation of the arm “trick.” I liked it a lot.
I learned many things things from your blog and video Sandy. I now know where to find my infraspinatus which I am very excited about! The rotator cuff group is slowly coming to light for me and after watching your video, I feel confident in where to locate the infraspinatus as well as how to access it with the Yoga Tune Up® therapy balls.
Thank you Sandy, I used to sleep on my stomach and it took me a year to get rid of that, but now I sleep on my side and it’s a killer in the morning. I have bought about 10 different pillows but nothing works, but I did the YTU ball last night and that really helped.
The internal and external rotation got it the most, as I think that way even though the ball is not in contact with the whole muscle, it still is working to its full capacity to externally rotate with a lot of pressure to go with it.
Thanks so much for making this video and posting your blog on the infrasprinatus. We went over this in YTU teacher training today and I had a hard time finding it. Your suggestion was perfect, found it no problem.
When I did find it in class, man it was super painful, and it’s no wonder it’s the 2nd most overused muscle.
Good nuggets, thanks!
Great article that really landed with me once I saw the video clip. I like your your point that you can do these poses anywhere as well.
I had a slight rotator cuff problem when coming into Urdhva Dhannurasana and ever since I used the Yoga Tune Up balls and this exercise seems to to the trick. Now flexion at 180 degrees in the arms does not hurt like it used to. Thanks for spreading the word out.
who would have thought we could be hurting ourselves (even passively!) while sleeping! UG! one more thing to worry about! but truly this is a great reminder that positions of ‘comfort’ may result in areas of discomfort in the long run! I love this little exercise b/c this muscle is a real ‘zowzer’ for me- its really hidden so really easy to forget about and takes a bit of work to find w/ the ball, but this was perfect. I hadn’t done the little rotations (internal/external) while flexing the shoulder so thank you for giving me another way to get into this neglected muscle!! (neglected by ME)
Love this instructional video. I never thought about my sleeping on my stomach or side and how it was affecting my shoulders. Now I not only know what to correct, I also know how to locate my already overused and tired muscle! Thanks for the help!
Thanks for the thorough video on locating and releasing tension from the infraspinatus. I found a few points particularly helpful; when you mentioned how to palpate the muscles and then demonstrated internal and external rotation to know that we were in the right spot, you pointed out when you were cross fibering with the ball and when you were working with the grain, and when you used relational cues like the pageant arm. Loved how that shoulder was a little lower – proof in under 3 mins!
Mucho mahalo for taking the time to create this fantastic instructional video. I have been using a foam roller every morning but will add this little sprinkles on top. Side sleepers unite!
This was so informative Sandy! I’ve been wondering lately about the relationship my tummy sleeping with arms/hands up by my head/under the pillow was having on my shoulders. Now I have learned (from you) that it may be affecting my infraspinatus. I love the sequence for rubbing it out on the wall – it’s quite intense on the floor and looks easier to target effectively this way. And just a note . . . I love how the gentlemen behind you didn’t even seem to notice the strange thing you were doing!
Thank you for this run down on the infraspinatus it was perfectly descriptive and useful. I am also a side sleeper and often feel stiff in this area in the mornings. I’m going to use this quick sequence often!
I followed your video (as I do sleep with my arm up over my head as you demonstrated) and found some “yummy” spots. Thanks for sharing!