After watching Mike Reinold’s webinar on this subject, I have considered alternatives to the sleeper stretch that is often utilized with baseball players or for others who lack internal rotation. Here are a few that Mike mentions and ones that we use with our athletes…
- Stretch into horizontal adduction instead of performing the sleeper stretch. Be sure to pin your shoulder-blade against the wall so that it doesn’t move (we have not used yet).
- Make more effective by placing a lacrosse ball on the posterior cuff (against the wall) and going through the motion to improve soft tissue quality. Digging a lacrosse ball into the posterior cuff is a great way to improve internal rotation and is often helpful for those with shoulder issues.
- Improve Rib positioning (notice L rib flair in picture below): The L rib flair pattern can be seen in most people (85%+) or the “L AIC” pattern which is a pattern our bodies fall into because of asymmetrical patterns. This concept was first introduced to us by the Postural Restoration Institute. We recently hosted our first course from PRI and it was simply fascinating. Anyway, getting the ribs in a more depressed position via proper exhalation can immediately improve internal rotation of the shoulder because it alters the position of the thoracic spine. Both of these affect how the shoulder moves.
These are a few considerations among many others that we can utilize to improve shoulder range of motion without cranking on the shoulder capsule.