How Super is Your Supraspinatus?

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Try to hold your arms out to the sides for 5 minutes.  Just try it.  Ok, for time’s sake try 1 minute.  It’s hard, right?  Now try it in Warrior 2. Woah!  It takes a lot of work!

So much is happening in Warrior 2 that your arms/shoulders can become neglected.  How many times have you been in a yoga class and the instructor lifts your drooping back arm in Warrior 2?  Not only is every muscle in your legs and torso either stretching, lengthening, or building muscle, but your arms are abducted as your shoulders hold up the weight of your arms.  If you’re having a tough time keeping the full expression of Warrior 2, it could ultimately be weakness in your supraspinatus muscle.

The skinny supraspinatus initiates abduction of the arm away from the body.

Building strength in your arms and rotator cuff muscles will assist in providing enough strength to abduct your shoulders for a longer period of time.  The most important of these for abduction of the shoulders is the supraspinatus.  The supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subcapularis, and teres minor are the 4 muscles of the rotator cuff.  These rotator cuff muscles surround the humeral head to stabilize the shoulder joint.   The supraspinatus originates at the scapula and inserts on the greater tuberosity of the humerus in front of the infraspinatus.  It helps to abduct the upper arm bone away from the body and move it overhead (a la Sun Salutations.)  It is the only rotator cuff muscle not involved in shoulder rotation but it assists in many everyday activities and yoga poses.

Strengthening rotator cuff muscles is crucial in preventing common shoulder injuries and helps open up the chest.  In a world where millions of people internally rotate and hunch over, the supraspinatus weakens causing a rounding in the shoulders.  Yoga Tune Up® poses like Pranic Bath, Propeller Arms and Stand Up Bodysurfing will awaken and/or strengthen the supraspinatus for a much more open chest and stronger Warrior 2 pose.

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