Our shoulders are built for movement. The shoulder joint itself is a ball-and-socket joint, which allows movement in all directions. But, when someone has shoulder pain or injury, how much shoulder extension they have is usually overlooked because the majority of movements that affects the shoulder involve overhead actions. However, we need to investigate if there is any loss of shoulder extension, particularly if there is pain with movements like ring dips/muscle ups or push ups.

What muscles are involved with limited shoulder extension?

  • Long head of biceps brachii
  • Coracobrachialis
  • Pectoralis major
  • Anterior fibers of deltoid

What movements will be affected if lacking shoulder extension?

  • Pull ups (particularly chest to bar and butterfly)
  • Muscle ups
  • Ring dips
  • Push ups
  • Burpees
  • Bench press/floor press
Biceps trigger point referral pattern

The long head of biceps in particular is prone to overuse and trigger points can cause referred pain into the shoulder itself. This is due to the fact that its tendon inserts into the labrum of the shoulder joint. The biceps is responsible for flexing the elbow and shoulder and supinating the forearm (turning the palm upwards).

Some people complain of a snapping or clicking sensation with long head of biceps problems. Often, rotator cuff injuries and issues with the long head of biceps go hand in hand.

How to treat yourself

Try rolling out/trigger pointing the biceps, front of the shoulder and pecs and stretching prior to workouts that involve pull ups, muscle ups, ring dips, push ups or burpees and see if it makes a difference.  The MobilizeMe App has a range of mobility exercises to help release these muscles.

Bicep smash with barbell

If improving the mobility of these muscles isn’t helping, you may have a problem with scapular stability and/or shoulder joint positioning (like a forward head of humerus) and you should make an appointment with MobilizeMe Physiotherapy on the Gold Coast for an assessment!