Whether you’re a seasoned circus artist or brand new to the scene, there’s a good chance you’ve felt some aches and pains in your shoulder! This post will discuss some basic shoulder anatomy, and why it’s relevant for circus artists!There are two general types of muscles that act on the shoulder- we can refer to them in broad terms as the “mover” muscles and the “stabilizer” muscles. “Movers” are the big muscles that tend to get all the glory- lats, traps, and pecs. Their purpose in the shoulder is to produce big and powerful movement, whether it’s bringing your arms up overhead or doing the grunt work involved in climbing up a 30 foot silk.
“Stabilizer” muscles are the smaller muscles that act to fine tune shoulder movement and ensure optimal shoulder-to-shoulder blade alignment. In other words, they do the behind the scenes work to make sure that the movers can do their job without any issues. The major stabilizer muscles in the shoulder are the muscles that make up the rotator cuff. When these guys stop doing their job, no ones happy!There are four muscles that make up the rotator cuff: The supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis. All of these muscles originate on the scapula (shoulder blade) and attach on different parts of the humerus (the top of your shoulder).