This is your “Shoulder Girdle” (men's doesn't look much different in the bony and muscular shape) - the bones in aqua blue green. As I have said many times, This is the bony structure that raising your arms relies upon, the bony structure that pushing or pulling rely upon. As I have said many times, the only “mechanical” connection of the shoulder girdle is the collar bone to the sternum- and it’s really small.
The shoulder girdle pretty much floats on the torso! Mostly what holds the shoulders onto the body, in addition to what moves the shoulders are the powerful muscles of the chest and back - the theme of my teaching these many months. (See November and October's posts)
I want to illustrate for you how you lift your collar bones, how to “lift your chest” without kinking your lower back, without popping out your lower front ribs, without lifting your chin up.
Let's go back to that first image- here it is below so that you won't have to scroll back up.
If you go back to last month's post, you can watch the video on Scapular Force Coupling, animating how the shoulder muscles work together. Let's add onto this "Force Coupling" by looking at what can happen to the collar bones and the pectoralis minor muscle when the scapular muscles work together. Using a basic "see-saw" or coupling of force, the serratus anterior tightening and getting shorter will tilt the blade side of the shoulder blade into the back, down and to the side of the body. That in turn, will pull the upper tip (and it is really kind of just a tip, called the coracoid process) up and back, in turn pulling on the pec minor. These 3 slips of the muscle get stretched long, and if pulled sufficiently will pull open the upper ribs the muscle grows out from. Voila- lifting the upper chest.
Now, let's say you are doing what you read about in November- in concert with engaging your serratus anterior, you are also engaging the obliques, internal and external, which are growing out of your lower ribs, anchoring them down to the crest of your hips (pelvis). Go ahead- take a peek back to refresh your visual memory this is all a lot to take in at once. Voila- anchoring the lower ribs, lifting the upper ribs. Look Ma- no thrusting ribs, no kinking back, no chin lift!
Yes, it might take a long time, much trial and error, different queues and lots of visualization to get this to happen. But, your body NEVER looses it's ability to develop muscle or find neurological pathways.
I love the visuals, as they help me imagine in my brain and body what the pathway is as I move, and I personally have found this extremely effective. I hope you do, too.