Kettlebell Carries for Scapular Dyskinesis | Modern Manual Therapy Blog

Kettlebell Carries for Scapular Dyskinesis


I learned this from Charlie Weingroff and immediately started implementing in my shoulder patients with scapular dyskinesis.

Using motor control theory as a basis for training leads to a very simple premise. If you are performing exercises like rotator cuff strengthening, T's and Y's, loaded or unloaded but the scapula is still almost poking you in the eye, are you really promoting stability?

The kettlebell carry exercise (straight arm overhead) leads to loaded scapula setting. I have patients perform this for a goal of 5 minutes per day. Try it, it's a lot harder than it sounds. They should walk around, forward, backward, they can turn, braid, whatever it takes to get to 5 minutes as a progression.

This patient had left anterior shoulder pain, upper trap pain, and radiating lateral upper arm complaints. Most of that was successfully treated with IASTM, neurodynamics and MDT to the cervical spine. The only thing that bothered him was reaching forward unloaded, either in the shower for his soap or when reaching for weights when resistance training.

I tried scapula setting cuing prior to Charlie's course for a few weeks along with the typical Y's and T's. I also tried plus pushups partially loaded, used PNF to facilitate the mid/lower traps, scap protraction work... all of my previous go to exercises. Following up once a week, there was no real change. Enter the Carry. Here are some before and during KB carry ex pics.
before
during

great loaded set position!
I followed up with him once weekly to work on remaining ST and neurodynamic dysfunction, and after 3 weeks of carrying, his scapula was much more stable during reaching and WB (lifting himself up onto a plinth). He also only had an estimated 5% discomfort and that was intermittent. We agreed that he could keep up with his HEP and he would email me if he needed anything else.

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