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Exercise 1: How to use the Vertical Frame with rehab and post-rehab clients for Scapula Isolations

In this new blog series, we’ll be looking at how instructors and health care practitioners can make the most of the Vertical Frame on their Reformer to assist rehab or post-rehab clients.

What is the Vertical Frame?

The Vertical Frame can be added to any one of Merrithew’s Max series of Reformers, with square receptacles on the back end. With the Vertical Frame, you can perform a wide variety of Cadillac exercises on the Reformer and Mat Converter, dramatically increasing your programming options on one machine.

Exercise 1: Scapula Isolations

The Vertical Frame is excellent for targeted muscle activation, as Merrithew Lead Instructor Trainer and physical therapist Jacqueline Gallant demonstrates. This video shows how two variations of the Scapula Isolation exercise can be performed using the Vertical Frame’s Push-Thru Bar with springs from above and below.

Jacqueline will often introduce these exercises to clients after they’ve had surgery for such things as a total shoulder replacement, rotator cuff injury, fracture or impingement.

“These exercises are done in a supine position with the arms at 90-degrees of flexion, making it a good place for someone with a rotator cuff injury to start. It will help them work on the length-tension relationship of the muscles of the glenohumeral joint,” she explains.

With the shoulder in this optimal position, the stabilizing muscles will be able to most effectively do their job.

Since the client stays in a supine position for the duration of the exercise, it’s also appropriate for those who have cervical or thoracic spine issues and need to maintain stability in the neck and head while activating the muscles in that area. Being totally supported will help reduce any unwanted strain and tension.

When using the Push-Thru Bar with springs from below, the resistance is pulling the bar down and the focus is on scapular protraction, which is helpful for those clients who have ‘winging’ scapulae. This will encourage them to activate the serratus anterior to keep the scapulae gliding on the rib cage. It also prepares the shoulder girdle for functional pushing movements.

Using the Push-Thru Bar with springs from above changes the resistance to be in an upward direction and brings more focus to scapular retraction. This exercise activates the rhomboids and middle trapezius, helping the client maintain better stability of the scapulae and shoulder area to prepare for pulling movements.

Watch more
Exercise 2: Swan Dive
Exercise 3: Bend and Stretch

Health experts suggest you talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise program.
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