Scapular Motion, Shoulder Health and Mental Health

When it comes to shoulder health, strength and function you’d do very well to take a long look at the scapula (shoulder blade)

Here’s what I mean:

Scapula motion:

Now as clear as that video is, it’s a sanitised version of how we actually move. Real motion is a combination of all the individual actions shown. So as the Scapula protracts, it usually also upwardly rotates. Depression usually occurs with retraction

And all of that occurs in synchronicity with arm and thoracic spine/rib cage action.

This video gives a nice visual, although doesn’t show the effect of the spinal motion:

While our big compound exercises will take care of much of the strength requirements of the muscles related to the scapula, no exercise gives the shoulder girdle a full movement experience.

The closest I have come across is the swinging of clubs and their heavier cousins, the mace. Have a look at these videos, the first is Karolina, a lady who badly needs scapula control. And myself with a history of shoulder injuries.


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Proof that miracles can happen! After I don’t know how long @enableyourpotential nails the alternating inward circle. Not only is this developing coordination, but we also have crossing centre which is excellent for the CNS. These two points were the primary drivers in selecting this exercise for Karolina, the scapula stimulation and stretch loading occuring through the upper back were secondary. Photobombing us is the big bear himself @wierzbinski.sebastian Both Seba and Karolina love their BJJ and understand that Indian Club work should be a staple in in all BJJ / grappling training. Which is where the tool originated, according to some sources around 3000years ago. Have you tried them? #wgfamily #irishfitfam #indianclubs #clubbell #mace #pahlavandle #bjj #mma #muaythai #kyokushin #karate

A post shared by Dave Hedges (@dave_hedges) on Nov 27, 2018 at 12:09pm PST


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Some morning mobility with my Pahlavandles I’m a huge fan of using the longer handle set up. The extra leverage feels amazing, even though these are only 1 litre bottles, so 1 kg each. The split stance actions here are traditional Persian Meel actions that I love to use. In use the spilt stance to take advantage of the Anatomy in Motions Flow Motion Model and use the leverage of the club’s to “pull me” into skull – spine – scapula – pelvis positions that are in line with our innate gait mechanics. All in all, as as quick reset, this is tough to beat. Now, a quick sales pitch.. Due to a workshop I was due to teach being cancelled, I’ve a stack of Pahlavandles available. Here’s the pitch, you ready? EITHER: I can run a workshop out of WG-FIT or any Dublin based gym on using clubs, a set of Pahlavandles will of course be included in the cost of attending the workshop. OR: I’ll make them available via my shop page so you can buy them as stocking fillers for someone you like. Or better yet, keep them for yourself Which will we do? #wgfamily #irishfitfam #indianclubs #pahlavandle #shoulderhealth #AiM #whatthefoot #garyward_aim #mobility #bjj #muaythai #kyokushin #karate #kettlebells

A post shared by Dave Hedges (@dave_hedges) on Nov 30, 2018 at 1:31am PST

Either of us could spend 20 minutes with ease going through various band pull aparts, external rotations, face pulls, serratus activations, thoracic flexion or extension drills every workout. Or we spend a few minutes swinging the club’s in our warm ups, rest periods, or as part of the training itself.

My Indian club choice is the Heroic Sport Pahlavandle. A cheap plastic club handle designed to fit onto the neck of a carbonated drinks bottle, the video of me shows me using plastic San Pellegrino bottles giving me 1KG of weight.

I have Pahlavandles in stock, for sale. But better than that on Saturday the 15th of December from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. I will be teaching and Indian club workshop teaching you how to get the most out of these tools.

The price of the workshop will include the price of your Heroic Sport Pahlavandles so you’ll be able to take those home and immediately begin practicing

Not only that we will donate €15 of the fee to the Rehab Care Hops Centre for mental health that we patronise and work with.

This link will allow you to book your place: (opens in new window)

We will cover the basics of single and double club use and with luck we’ll be able to cover mace swinging. As with all workshops the course content will largely be led by questions from the group.

Here’s that link again.

See you there.


Dave Hedges

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