Module: Muscle Synergies

Targeting muscle synergies to
optimise movement retraining
for the neck & shoulder



This course is designed to help clinicians deliver targeted retraining of the muscle synergies of the neck and shoulder to manage their patients’ pain, the impact of pathology, and the detriments to quality of life seen in the presence of compromised function.

Movements of the neck and shoulder are anatomically and biomechanically linked through the complex interaction of muscle synergies. The assessment and retraining of muscle synergies supplies clinicians with a means of exerting significant change on their patients’ current pain or functional status. This course supplies the skill set, the tools and the systemised clinical reasoning framework to fast track patients towards life after pain, an enhanced state of movement potential at less risk of recurrence.




Presentations of the neck and shoulder are complex, multi-factorial and significantly impact patients’ capacity to interact with the world. How are clinicians to decide on the most effective and efficient intervention? If movement retraining is the intervention of choice, which movements or muscles are to be prioritised as requiring attention?

The main focus of this course is to place targeted retraining of muscle synergies, guided by a clinical reasoning framework and time efficient assessment as the intervention of choice. Targeted muscle synergy management gives clinicians a structured process to deal with the complexity of the neck and shoulder issues. For the patient, the restoration of more optimal muscle synergies can impact recurrence, quality of life and places ownership of the means to ensure they remain pain free in their hands, truly empowering the individual.


  • Enhances ability to assess and retrain muscle synergies associated to pain, pathology and compromised function of the neck and shoulder
  • Develops clinicians’ cueing and facilitation skillset to positively impact movement impairments attributable to altered muscle synergies
  • Supplies clinical skills to manage issues of extensibility so as to support patients’ long- term outcome
  • Supplies clinical skills to give patients strategies to reduce recurrence and maintain function
  • Gives therapists the skills, tools and understanding to choose movement assessment and retraining as the clinical intervention of choice


At the end of this course the participant should be able to:
  • Relate movement and synergistic recruitment patterns and consider how changes to these patterns influence pain, recurrence and function
  • Demonstrate the skills allowing them to change patients’ movement through the assessment and retraining of muscle synergies
  • Relate muscle synergy recruitment patterns to pain, recurrence and compromised function
  • Demonstrate an ability to assess and retrain muscle synergy efficiency
  • Demonstrate the ability to assess for loss of extensibility and aberrant recruitment substitutions
  • Display options for movement retraining in addition to acquiring the ability to match the level of retraining to your patient’s abilities and goals
  • Operate within a structured clinical reasoning framework to help patients achieve their outcomes


  • Practical workshops to enhance movement assessment and retraining proficiency within clinical environments
  • Practically applies principles of muscle synergy management to target mechanisms associated with patients’ movement impairments
  • Supplies clinical relevance to the functional roles of muscle synergies
  • Explores the relationship between muscle synergies and the presence of pain, pathology, and compromised function
  • Supplies clinical value to the analysis and management of restriction and movement impairments
  • Presents multi-factorial rating criteria to assess efficiency of muscle synergies
  • Presents multi-factorial muscle synergy classification model to support clinical reasoning and intervention
  • Retraining options and progressions for global stabiliser retraining at the neck and shoulder
  • Cognitive recruitment efficiency solutions for movement control impairments of the neck and shoulder
  • Matching recruitment efficiency retraining to the client’s / patient’s goals and priorities
During these courses:
  • We’ll look at how changes in muscle recruitment can relate to movement impairments
  • You can start to evaluate the recruitment efficiency of the local and global muscle systems
  • At this stage you will experience additional practical applications of movement retraining strategies to help restore recruitment efficiency
  • You will further develop your skills for cognitive motor learning
  • Learn new strategies to recover the ideal recruitment and length of the overactive multi-joint muscles
By the end of the courses you will:
  • Have acquired the necessary assessment skills to implement tests to evaluate muscle efficiency
  • Developed a better understanding of the relationship between movement impairments and muscle efficiency
  • Have at your disposal a range of effective strategies for helping your patients recover ideal recruitment and length of multi-joint global synergists and improve their function
  • There will be an opportunity for us to consider the neuroscience underpinning the principles recruitment efficiency, impaired function and recurrence of symptoms

Kinetic Control courses are designed for medical health professionals such as physiotherapists, osteopaths, chiropractors, podiatrists etc registered with the HPC. In exceptional circumstances experienced non medical health professionals may be allowed to attend Kinetic Control courses but these participants MUST be able demonstrate that the course material is within their scope of practice and that they have appropriate professional liability insurance to cover them for their attendance at the course and the course content.

This course has both theortical and practical elements. Please come prepared for the practical work.