The two groups of muscles that prevent injury by keeping your shoulders in "balance"

There are actually TWO key parts of our shoulder that must remain balanced in proper alignment in order to be able to move your shoulders without "crashing on takeoff". We refer to them as "Stabilizing Muscles" of your shoulder.

1.   The Rotator Cuff. The rotator cuff is actually a group of four muscles that stabilize the ball and socket joint of your shoulder. These muscles completely surround the shoulder blade and shoulder joint on all sides. The muscles actually wrap around the ball and socket, and hold the ball in tight alignment with the socket. Without these muscles, your shoulder would pop right out of it's socket the next time you tried to move it.

Every single time we move or use our shoulder for any activity, it is the job of the rotator cuff muscles to contract in such an exact, and well-timed manner such that they are always holding the shoulder joint in perfect alignment.

(The specific names of the rotator cuff muscles are discussed in the "Shoulder Anatomy" section.)

Forces from a rotator cuff muscle hold the ball and socket shoulder joint in proper alignment. Arrow represents the various directions of pull that the muscle exerts. (Muscle shown is the infraspinatous)

The rotator cuff is one you've probably already heard about, but did you know that it is only half the picture when it comes to caring for your shoulders?

2.   The Scapula Stabilizers. These are a group of muscles that stabilize the Scapula (your shoulder blade). These muscles attach your scapula to your rib cage (also referred to as the thoracic wall).

The Scapula Stabilizers help move the scapula throughout the proper planes of motion so that the socket (which is a part of your scapula) remains facing the correct direction when you move your arm.

(The specific names of the scapula stablizer muscles are discussed in the "Shoulder Anatomy" section.)

The scapula (highlighted yellow) must rotate outward so that the SOCKET can remain in proper position to support the "ball".

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