At Sifu Och Wing Chun there has arisen a leech. It drains our energy, hinders us from seeing progress during training. The Wing Chun Killer, this leech, is the elongated rotator cuff. He starts off subtly as a uncomfortable annoyance in the front of the shoulder. But before long he has grown to such the monster training at all can become a nightmare of pain. The unbearable pain is enough to stop even the strongest practitioner if not dealt with properly.
Stop the Wing chun killer
Many of our coaches and instructors deal with this pain. It is caused by the elongation of the rotator cuffs, mainly the Teres Minor. This tends to happen due to the fact that the anterior deltoid and the pectoral muscles get a lot of use with Wing Chun. Its direct attacks firing straight off the shoulder strengthens only the anterior portion of the shoulder as well as the pectoral (chest) muscles. Without proper muscular compensation to counter act that strength the head of the Humerous will sit in a rolled forward position. With the rotator cuffs elongated any use in the shoulder can not only cause pain but fatigue as well. You can see in the pictures below the shoulder position in it’s correct form and incorrect form. You will also see the rotator cuffs in the next photo to better understand what is happening.
Rotator Cuffs (posterior view)
Now that we have identified the “Wing Chun Killer”, stretched and weak rotator cuffs, what’s the solution? The solution is twofold and simple: stretch out the muscles that are tight and strengthen the muscles that are being overpowered by the tight ones. To do this we must understand what muscles are being used. To counter-act the muscles pulling forward we must strengthen the rhomboids and rotator cuffs. The rhomboids must be included because of the role the scapula or shoulder blade. As you can see in the photo above the rotator cuffs actually attach to the scapula. If the rhomboids are also loose the rotator cuffs will not have a good anchor. The rhomboids attach from the spine to the scapulas and are used to retract the scapula towards the spine. View the photo below to better understand the rhomboid.
We already know now that rhomboids pull the scapula towards the spine lets look at the rotator cuffs. The rotator cuffs are used to rotate the shoulder posteriorly and hold it in a stable position. So what type of workouts should you do to help strengthen these muscles. In the videos below you will see some exercises to work out those rotator cuffs and a second video to help make sure that you are doing them correctly.
Watch These now
These videos are from Jeff Cavalier who is a Personal Trainer for professional athletes but comes from a physical therapy background.
Rotator Cuff Workout:
Rotator Cuff Mistakes:
These techniques have helped many students here at Sifu Och Wing Chun to minimize and eliminate the pain in their shoulders. You also want to make sure that you stretch out your pectoral muscles. To do this simply find a corner, spread your arms and lean into the corner. You can also grab a door frame with one arm and twist away from it. As you train and become stronger make sure you seek to build your body has a whole unit! We hope this helps you on your Wing Chun journey!