Mend Physical Therapy Blog and Injury Information

Which yoga poses are best for shoulder stability?

June 7, 2018


Yoga is a popular form of individual and group exercise designed to improve flexibility, movement quality, and strength.  Participants benefit from sustained position holds designed to target different body regions.  As expected, the work of the stabilizing muscles increase with greater balance and weight bearing demands.  A recent study examined which exercises were best for recruiting the stabilizing muscles in the shoulder girdle.  

A recent article in the Journal of Sports Physical Therapy examined how muscle recruitment changed during a variety of yoga poses (Chopp-Hurley et al. 2018).  20 experienced and asymptomatic yoga participants were analyzed during 15 yoga poses.  The authors reported the greatest amount of upper, middle, and lower trapezius recruitment was found during the locust arms forward pose.  Further, the serratus anterior was effectively recruited during the majority of arm weight bearing poses.  Conversely, low levels of activity were found in the scapular muscles during dancer’s pose right, reverse tabletop, and warrior II.