Shoulder Flexion and Extension
The words flexion and extension refer to how the shoulder muscles are moving in relation to how you move your arms. A shoulder flexion is when you move your arms anywhere from a resting position by your sides to straight above your head. An extension is when you move your arms and stick them out behind you.
The muscles involved in the flexion movement include the anterior deltoid, pectoralis major and coracobrachialis. For a shoulder extension, your body uses the latissimus dorsi, teres major and minor and posterior deltoid muscles. These muscles are important for lifting yourself up and having a good range of motion in your shoulders to improve mobility.
In order to strengthen these muscles, you could use dumbbells or resistance bands to help you. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart with your resistance band or weights in hand. As you keep your arms straight, lift up until your arms are parallel to the floor. Many yoga poses require you to have your arms up above your head as well, so a yoga session at home or with an instructor may be able to increase your range of motion while doing a shoulder flexion.
Strengthening your shoulder extension is done in the same way. A good exercise is the bilateral shoulder extension. With your resistance band in front of you, grab each end and reach behind you. Much like a shoulder flexion, extensions help to increase your range of motion and prevent shoulder injuries.
If a patient finds himself or herself in too much pain to move their arms out in front of them, above their heads or reach behind them, shoulder flexion and extension exercise may be used in physical therapy. The physical therapists at Arizona Bone and Joint Specialists may be able help in cases of arthritis, rotator cuff tears or other previous injuries. Sometimes a physical therapy session is easier than doing your own exercises at the gym because our facilities have special equipment that is specifically meant for shoulder injuries. Our staff has an excellent understanding of the muscles used for shoulder flexion and extension and can fine-tune your work out to not only prevent further injury, but also target the specific muscles that are causing your trouble.
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The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and are not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.