View Full Version : Shoulder Flexibility: This is discouraging

09-06-2008, 09:24 AM
Alright, so I play tennis and most other sports left-handed, but I write and do whatever else with my right hand. My left arm's pretty strong, and there's a noticeable difference in the size of it versus my right arm. I had always assumed my left shoulder was more flexible, considering I keep it stretched, I play for at two or three hours a day, and hit alot of serves. I had never actually compared the flexibility, though, until this morning, when I used the test where you find the distance between your fingers when they meet between your shoulder blades. I found my right shoulder's very flexible (I can touch my fingers to my palms), and my left shoulder's flex is quite poor (there's probably 3 to 4 inches between my fingers. I found this unusual, but then again I really don't know anything about flexibility or fitness. Anyone have any input? And also any stretches or exercises for shoulder flexibility would be appreciated.

09-06-2008, 12:19 PM
I can't get closer than 3 inches between my fingertips when I do that, with either arm.

My shoulders just aren't that flexible, I guess. I guess I'd like to know how to improve my flexibility also. I've tried, but nothing really seems to have an impact.

09-06-2008, 02:14 PM
My hitting shoulder is less flexible as well. I think it may be due to neglecting stretches as I played.

09-06-2008, 02:55 PM
I believe my hitting shoulder is tighter as well, mainly because it's more muscular and the muscles actually inhibit movement. I wouldn't worry about it. As long as your serve is good, there's no problem. Just keep stretching it to prevent injury.

09-07-2008, 01:11 AM
From what I've seen in quite a few people (in their 30s thru 50s), loss of flexibility or range (of motion) in the dominant shoulder appears to be very common, perhaps the norm -- even in some non-athletes. A large part of the problem is that tennis service motions and other overhand throwing motions are particuarly stressful to the shoulder. Normal wear & tear from overuse is probably also a significant factor.

Can't tell from your description of your "test" how it is performed. I assume that you are reaching behind your back. Is the upper arm pointing in an upward direction with the hand reaching down between the shoulder blades (see Fig. 1)? This would be a test for shoulder abduction. If the upper arm is in a downward direction and the hand reaches up the back, then internal rotation of the shoulderis tested (Fig. 2).

http://www.aafp.org/afp/20000515/3079_f2a.jpg . http://www.aafp.org/afp/20000515/3079_f2b.jpg

Try the following simple test. With your arms at your sides, flex your arms forward (90 degrees) so that your forearms & palms are parallel to the ground. Now extend your arms forward, and attempt to keep your palms flat (parallel to the floor) without forcing it. Does one or both of your palms rotate inward instead of remaining flat? Do you feel any stress in the shoulder when you attempt to keep the palms parallel to the floor?

For more tests of shoulder articulations check the following links:
www.aafp.org/afp/20000515/3079.html (http://www.aafp.org/afp/20000515/3079.html)
nismat.org/orthocor/exam/shoulder.html#Evaluation (http://www.nismat.org/orthocor/exam/shoulder.html#Evaluation)

For some links that provide some shoulder stretches and exercises check my following post: tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?p=2413343 (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?p=2413343)


09-07-2008, 01:25 AM
Make sure that your warmup just prior to competing or playing includes dynamic stretching, not static stretching. Arm circles (rotations) are an example of a dynamic shoulder stretch.

The static stretches should be performed after you've finished playing tennis -- as part of your cool down. Another good time to perform static stretches are an hour or so before tennis (or at least 30-40 minutes beforehand). Of course, static stretches can also be done at other times of the day or night when not exercising.

09-07-2008, 04:58 AM
http://www.aafp.org/afp/20000515/3079_f2a.jpg . http://www.aafp.org/afp/20000515/3079_f2b.jpg

I have no problem with figure 2. But I can't get anywhere near what it's showing in figure 1. My arm just doesn't go behind my head like that.

The most I can do is to touch the base of my neck with my fingertips.

Oh well.

09-07-2008, 07:07 AM
I can go to about T-11 with my left hand and to about T-9 with my right hand, on test one (the left diagram above). For my age, that isn't too bad.


09-07-2008, 04:24 PM
Lemme tell ya, you do not want too much laxity.

Yoga - ok...

Tennis, think strength with adequate stretch for your particular frame (SA's posts/drawing good guide)...