Tutorial #5485

Connecting the Scapula

15 min - Tutorial


This tutorial with Michael and Ton provides a comprehensive breakdown of the mechanics of the scapula, emphasizing its movement in all three planes. They reference another tutorial, Elongation of the Spine, to highlight the importance of proper position distribution in weight-bearing exercises like plank and pike. This concise and informative tutorial will enhance your understanding of scapular movement and its significance in maintaining stability and maximizing the benefits of Pilates exercises.

Ready to put what you've learned into practice? Try out Michael and Ton's Scapula Focused Mat class here!
What You'll Need: Mixed Equipment

About This Video

(Pace N/A)
Feb 29, 2024
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Hi. I'm Tom. And I'm Michael. And today in the tutorial, what we're gonna do is look at the position of the scapula. And for that, we're gonna use the principles and the concepts from spiral dynamic. In spiral dynamic, they consider the shoulder the scapula, a transmission unit, and it transmits the force of the coordination unit of the arms to the trunk and from the trunk to the arms. In order to do this, the scapula needs to be in the right position. That would be helpful.

So this when we look at the scapula and there it is. We are the Scapulak is creating its stability by staying on top of our rib cage. Because of that, it's going to move and should move with the rib cage when we go into flexion and when we go into extension. So let's have a look at how that should follow the spine. So when the spine is in its elongated position, which You might, if you don't know what elongation is, look up our previous tutorial about elongation of the spine. When that is connected, the scapula sits right on top of it, and it creates, like I said, the, stability from being connected to that rib cage.

So when Michael starts to roll forward and we have flexion, it does move with the spine. What it should not do is when he starts to roll forward and the client starts to lose that connection and the shoulder kind of like starts to roll in and slide forward. That is not staying on top of it. It should stay back and move with the spine. Without gliding off it as he goes forward.

So that's where it might sometimes be a subtle difference, but that's what you wanna look out for as they start moving. So you wanna be the rib cage with the ball? Mhmm. So when we look at the position of the scapula. If this is his rib cage, it sits right on top of it. And here is the claffical decolor bone that is then connected to the sternum.

So this is connected. That's the only part that has because the arm connects over here. So with this being connected, the scapula can do 3 movements are 3 rotations on around 3 axis. The first axis we call is the transverse axis, which goes from right to left through the body. And if we follow that rotation and if we take this coracoid process as our reference point, it rows in or forward and backwards.

So that is one movement that is possible in this scapula. Then we have movement around the sagittal axis. The sagittal axis goes through front and back of your body. So that allows the shoulder blade to glide up and down sideways. Right? And then we have the longitudinal axis, which is going straight up and down, which allows the collar bone to or the shoulder to move in and out. Right?

So, obviously, this is probably more movement than you will find in your shoulder. So now when we put it all together, it allows the shoulder to move what we like to call an inward spiral and then back to the outward spiral. So it allows us to go in and out. So let's find that on our own body. So if you Have a yoga block.

If you have a yoga block, you can use that or a pillow, or even your phone, anything that will help. So we're gonna just gonna sit and sit straight, and we're gonna pretend that this is our shoulder. Right? So the first axis we're talking about is the transverse axis. So that allows our shoulder blade to go this way and that way. So we go in or forward and backwards. One more time.

Forwards and backwards. Then we have our sagittal axis from the front. That allows us to do this rotation. And some people call this the upward rotation and the downward rotation. Right? We have that going this way.

Then we have the longitudinal axis, which goes straight up and down, which allows us to do this and that. So more like the protraction, retraction kind of motion. So now we're gonna put all of those together. Wow. Exciting. So we're gonna go forward up and in, and then back down and out. That's a lot of movement.

Forward upwards and inwards, backwards, downwards, and outwards. One more time for the people in the back. We go forward, upwards, and inwards, backwards, downwards, and outwards. So those are what we call an inward spiral and an outward spiral because it has a rotation around all three axis. At the same time.

Now why is it important, Michael? I don't know. Tell me. Okay. We're going to find out why we need that. So if we're going to do it all together one more time, we're going to place our hand across, and you place the heel of your hand on your collarbone, right up there, and then you move your fingers over your shoulder and you find this little bone over here, the spine of your scapula. So you can reach over and find it there.

Now what we're going to do, let me be over here, if you do go this way so they can see it. So you have to hand over, Which hand do you want? I don't care. Just go over here. There we go. So when he goes into the front, inward spiral and outward spiral. Now if you all do it at home as well, what I want you to feel is the distance between the heel of your hand and your fingers. So when you hold it, we go inward, and we go outward.

Right? So just do that a couple of times. And I'll feel what happens with that space in between your fingers and the heel of your hinge. And what we hopefully you will notice is as you are going inward, there becomes less space between those two And when we go open into the outward, there's more space. Right? So there's less space, and there is more space. Now that is going to be important. Now this space from here, the color bone and the shoulder blade needs to be about 60 degrees.

Right? Now we understand you're not gonna run around with a protractor in your classes and go, I can move 60 degrees, but it is a No. I I don't, anyway. You might. But what we want is that you have that visual in your head, what it should be because then you can recognize it with your clients and see if like, oh, that seems very short. Now The reason why that is important, you want to be the chest again, is what we saw, what you noticed was like when we go inward, This comes together, these 2. And when we go outward, those 2 move away from each other. And especially when we are weight bearing, that becomes an issue. So if we are standing can you hold that for a sec? And we have the arm hanging down.

It's okay. It's fine. But now when we are going to go weight bearing, And we have this hand on the floor. What we see is that the weight that Mike was talking about of the ground force is being divided equally, if we look at more for the front, between this part of the spine and the scapula. So it becomes like almost like a tripod over there. Now and the weight is evenly divided.

Now see what happens if this goes in. I don't have an even distribution of or quadruped position, and the shoulders are really forward. They don't have the force equally divided and distributed over. Or if can you go into your hands and knees and hang your shoulders? Well, I know you can. Oh, I know.

I I hang really well. If he starts to wing, we have the same problem. It becomes short, and the force is not equally carried through the body. You want that? So when Michael was talking about, if he rounds too much and it goes in, it becomes short, and it does not distribute equally. If he goes back, but now he starts to wing.

So we go this way, it also becomes a problem, right? Or sometimes they go this way. Off. So it's all about making sure that that forced this distribution that Michael was talking about between the coordination unit of the arm and the coordination unit of the spine is absorbed through this transmission unit. And if it's in the outward spiral, this open position, that happens much safer and more even for the body to absorb. So when we are doing that, we need certain muscles that need to be strong and certain muscles that need to be lengthened.

So, I think it's this way easier. So the muscles that create that stability are the ascending parts of the trapezius. So they come from the back from the bottom and help moving this shoulder blade down into the position. The other one is the lower part of the serratus anterior. They move this point into the rib cage.

Now what you can see is in when this shoulder blade goes back into the right position, this opens up a lot. And especially with people who are very tight in the front, specifically the pectoralis minor, that's attached to the Coricoid process here and moves down here to the top ribs. That can really pull this short and creates a problem, right? So when you work with people who are very much in that position, thank you. The lengthening or releasing of the pectoralis minor is something that you want to keep in mind, and in the back, the strengthening of the ascending fibers or the bottom part of the trapezius and the low lower part of the serratus anterior. Now We hope this clarified a little bit of where the position of the scapula should be.

If you have any questions, write it down in the comments. And also, if you want any ideas about exercises for this scapula, there's a link to our workout, that all deals with this calculator. Hope this was helpful.


2 people like this.
Omg, after watching your pelvis and hip joint tutorial this evening I requested scapula tutorial from you guys and Voilà my wish came true: Clear explanations and demo. Thanks so much you’re both great!
The Penn and Teller of Pilates education. I love this tutorial. Thank you so very much.
Taryn Upchurch
A wonderful, clear, and insightful tutorial! Thanks so much to you both.
Lovely tutorial. Thank you!
Thank you so much - this was so helpful 😊

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