3 Infraspinatus Exercises to Relieve Pain and Gain Strength
Do you suffer from back, neck, or even arm pain, but not sure where it’s coming from? Perhaps you spend too much time slumped over your keyboard and experience pain from it? Have you ever heard of the Infraspinatus muscle? If you checked yes on any of the above, then you’ve come to the right place.
Learn how the Infraspinatus muscle can have a tremendous impact on your posture. In this post, we'll show you how to relieve some tightness or pain in the muscle group before teaching you some Infraspinatus exercises.
What is the Infraspinatus?
The Infraspinatus muscles are thick triangular muscles located on the shoulder blades. You can picture them as little cupid wings. If humans could flap our arms and fly, they would be a big help!
Infraspinatus muscles are one of the four rotator cuff muscles; helping primarily with external rotation. Think about reaching back to put your seatbelt on, that’s the Infraspinatus doing its job!
Not only does it help with rotation, but it helps to stabilize the shoulder joint. These muscles can also elevate and depress the shoulder, like when you reach up to the ceiling or down to the floor.
As we stated before if there is an issue with this muscle, the whole joint and surrounding area can be affected. The issue most people deal with is muscle weakness. Typically in the human body, if a muscle is weak, it’s usually painful.
Symptoms of Infraspinatus Pain
- Pain deep in the shoulder joint
- Pain radiating into the neck, upper back, and down into biceps and fingers
- Inability to raise the arm above your head because of stiffness, weakness, or numbness
- Discomfort when sleeping or laying on your side
Common Reasons for Injury
Traumatic injuries are quite rare to the Infraspinatus muscle; most ‘injuries’ are classified as overuse. *If, for some reason, you think you may have occurred an acute injury, through a fall or maybe felt a pop or immediate pain to the area after an exercise or playing a sport, please seek further medical attention.*
We will be addressing overuse and misuse injuries of the infraspinatus muscle throughout the remainder of this post.
Overuse and Misuse
Whether your a desk jockey or an actual jockey, if your posture is rounded forward, your infraspinatus is going to be upset with you.
When we are out of alignment in the upper back with rounded shoulders, the infraspinatus is disengaged and lengthened. Over time, this may cause muscular imbalances, such as winging scapulae, mid back, and neck pain.
Some examples of overuse injuries seen in swimmers and weightlifters who tend to round their shoulders, but don't negate the effect poor posture can have as well.
Release Exercises for the Infraspinatus
Take a lacrosse ball or tennis ball, whichever level of firmness you can tolerate, and press the ball between your Infraspinatus muscles and a wall, or other solid structure.
You may need to play around with the position of the ball to find that nice “area of sensation.” Once you find it practice breathing into the ball and relaxing around it. If this is causing you pain to the point that you cannot relax into it, back off on the intensity. If you are guarding because of the pain you aren’t going to achieve as much.
Strengthening Infraspinatus Exercises
After releasing the Infraspinatus and surrounding area, the scoop exercise is what we recommend as the first step to creating stability in the shoulder. By learning the scoop, you support the entire shoulder from the bottom, as opposed to the muscles at the top trying to hold everything in place. You can't hold a building up from the top! If the foundation is crumbling, you have to fix the foundations Yo’!
Can You Reduce Pain?
Apart from self-massage, shoulder scoop and banded strengthening are the only “quick fixes” that will help you strengthen the area into alignment. But if your head juts forward or your ribs are flaring, you're not going to see the full benefit of aligning your entire body. That is why the MoveU program is explicitly designed for your whole body, for the part can never be well unless the whole is well.
The MoveU program is designed to help you understand and recognize muscle weaknesses and imbalances you have throughout your body. Then, it will guide you to control those muscles and rebuild strength! Ready to get started? Click here to join the program. Still have questions? Click here to learn more about what's included with the program.
Written By David Schroer