By Dr Paul Batman, PhD.
The supraspinatus is a small but powerful muscle situated on the top of the scapula and partially covered by the trapezius and the deltoid.
Supraspinous fossa of the scapula.
Top of the greater tubercle and capsule of the shoulder joint.
The supraspinatus belongs to the following muscle groups:
Shoulder joint abductors.
Upright row, shoulder press, dumbbell lateral raise.
CASE STUDY STRENGTHENING EXERCISE: UPRIGHT ROW.
1. Stand in upright position with your back flat
2. Hold a barbell with a pronated grip and hands a “two thumb” distance apart
3. Slightly bend your knees with the barbell resting on your thighs
4. Contract your abdominals to protect your lower back
5. Begin the exercise by bending your elbows and lifting them as high as possible to the side of the body
6. Keep the bar close to the chest on the way up
7. At the end of the movement the bar should be directly beneath your lower jaw
8. Pause and then lower the barbell down slowly to the starting position
9. Your elbows should be almost fully extended at the end of the movement
Shoulder abductor stretch (across and behind your body)
CASE STUDY STRETCHING EXERCISE: SHOULDER ABDUCTOR STRETCH.
1. Stand in an upright position with your arms by the side of your body
2. Gently move your straight right arm across and behind your body
3. Grip your right wrist with your left hand and gently continue to pull your straight right arm behind your body until you feel a comfortable stretch on the side of your shoulder
4. Hold the stretch for approximately 20 seconds and then return your right arm back to the starting position
5. Repeat the stretch on your left arm
The supraspinatus is a difficult muscle to palpate because of its location under the trapezius and deltoid. Some aspects of it may be felt by palpating the supraspinous fossa while the arm is being abducted against resistance or when the arm rests over a chair when the scapula is supported.
1. The supraspinatus was originally thought to be the initiator of shoulder joint abduction. The activity of the supraspinatus now appears to progressively increase throughout shoulder joint abduction.
2. The supraspinatus works very closely with the deltoid. Even without the deltoid the supraspinatus can abduct the shoulder joint but only without resistance.
3. It has also been shown to be active during flexion of the shoulder joint past 100 degrees.
4. During abduction of the shoulder joint the supraspinatus tends to pull the head of the humerus into the glenoid cavity and protects the shoulder joint from dislocation.