A while back a prospective client was lamenting the fact that there wasn’t a complete approach to increasing his sales.
In most programs I’ve seen, a company has to wait for a while before they start to get a return on their investment. Our formula for BizWorks is this, take: The Best Sales Practices and Training + Technology + Marketing = Increased Sales! If you know of a company that can really use a jump start to their sales, do them a favor and refer them to us. Full range of motion for raising your arms overhead requires sixty-degrees of upward rotation from the shoulder blade. When the upward rotators (lower traps, serratus anterior) are weak, the downward rotators become overactive (levator scapular, pec-minor, rhomboid) – acting as stabilizers. Pec-minor is the deep muscle of the chest that is tight on most people – creating an anterior tilt of the scapula and contributing to rounded shoulders. Levator scapula is the often-strained muscle of the neck that is responsible for the trigger points at the top of the scapula – the knot that many athletes complain of to their massage therapist.
While levator is often ‘locked-long’ it is important to release the associated fascia of this muscle and prevent it from elevating the shoulder blade during arm movement. While it is important to strengthen rhomboid with movements like bent-over rows – if the shoulder blades are pulled in towards the spine, it is important to focus on restoring scapular alignment. Athletes should refrain from exercises that involve retraction and depression of the shoulder blades (bench-press, rows) and focus on upward rotation – until alignment is improved.

While both rhomboid and serratus anterior both attach to the shoulder blade – they are actually a continuous line of connective tissue that maintains a tug-of-war for normal alignment and scapular function. The scapular wall slide activates serratus anterior, while the half-kneeling face-pull strengthens rhomboid in a movement pattern of upward rotation.
The common cue of “Squeeze your shoulder blades together” for improving posture is detrimental to shoulder health. Instead, think of lengthening your spine and breathing into your lateral ribcage – let your awareness lead your breath there – don’t force anything. This is beyond the scope of this blog; just realize that thoracic position is needed for scapular stability. While scapular stability is dependent on the function of the upward rotator serratus anterior, serratus anterior function is dependent on thoracic position and diaphragmatic breathing. He goes on to explain that, “The stabilizers of the scapula, as well as all other muscles, need a fixed anchor point to pull towards.
In summary: both thoracic position and diaphragmatic breathing are prerequisites for improving scapular stability. The half-kneeling face pull trains thoracic extension, upward rotation and strengthens the lower and middle trapezius.  This is one of the best shoulder exercises for maintaining shoulder health and helping restore overhead mobility.
Adding upward rotation exercises to your pressing and pulling programming is a great way to balance your training for strong shoulders. In other words, an approach that addresses his need to not only promote his company, but to also bring in new sales NOW!.

We just launched a first-of-its-kind sales and marketing program called BizWorks that directly impacts a company’s sales and marketing activity. BizWorks literally injects new life into a company’s sales efforts and works with a sense of urgency to create new customers now, not months from now. This coordinated movement of the scapula with the arm (glenohumeral rhythm) is what supports the overhead mobility needed for the overhead squat and snatch. Stability is control in the presence of change – active control of the scapula during shoulder flexion (good upward rotation) is a big component of scapular stability. This length in the spine and diaphragmatic breathing is what supports a good spine and ribcage position.
Athletes stuck in extension should check out this amazing blog and see the Eric Cressey forearm wall slide variation video. Eric shows the wall slide with a slight rounding of the thoracic spine to counter extension. They transform a company’s sales force from sales people to problem solvers – which to me is really a departure from the old sales model of the past.

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