If I asked you to name three muscles connected to your scapula, could you?
Don’t worry, I won’t ask! Not surprisingly, though, most people can’t tell you why it’s important to have good scapular stability.
Having complete control of that little triangular bone just behind your shoulders is an important part of completing daily movements. We often don’t realize its importance until we lose it.
If you’ve ever had trouble raising your arms over your head, brushing your teeth, or even supporting yourself when getting up from the floor, the following exercises may be a great place to start.
We developed these five exercises to be completed with minimal equipment — so you can do them anywhere!
Complete 2 to 3 sets for 15 seconds each, in all 4 positions.
Lie facedown on floor, arms at sides.
Without moving anything other than your arms, complete the following:
- I: Hands down at sides, palms up, thumbs towards your thighs, fluttering up and down.
- T: Hold hands out to the sides to create a “T” with your body. Flutter arms up and down with palms facing ground.
- Y: Hold arms up in a “Y” position and flutter arms up and down with palms down.
- W: From “Y” position, pull arms into body leading with the elbows finishing at sides to create a “W.” Extend back to “Y” position and repeat.
Complete 2 to 3 sets of 15 to 20 repetitions.
- Stand facing a wall with hands placed on the wall, chest height and shoulder-width apart.
- Keep arms locked out and palms flat on wall.
- Without bending arms, reach with sternum towards wall until both shoulder blades come together behind you.
- Driving through both hands evenly, push sternum away from the wall until both scapula open up and your upper back is slightly rounded. Repeat.
Do 2 to 3 sets of 15 to 20 repetitions with a light band.
- Stand holding a long band with both hands, palms facing each other, about shoulder-width apart. There should be no tension in the band.
- Pull band apart with both arms to sides as wide as possible, keeping them about shoulder height.
- Slowly allow arms to come back together, controlling the pull of the band until hands return to starting position. Repeat.
Do 2 to 3 sets and 12 to 15 repetitions on each arm in each direction with an 8-pound medicine ball.
- Stand facing a flat wall and holding medicine ball in front of you, feet shoulder-width apart.
- Press medicine ball up against the wall with one hand, flat palm about shoulder height off the ground. Don’t let the ball drop!
- Using your palm only, roll the ball around in small circles both clockwise and counter-clockwise.
Do 2 sets of 10 repetitions at body weight.
- Start in a pushup position with hands centered on a stability ball and feet about hip-width apart.
- Keeping your core tight, inhale and lower yourself down to touch chest to ball.
- On an exhale, stabilize the stability ball and press back to the starting position.
Incorporating these five exercises into your program is a surefire way to help create a group of strong scapular stabilizers.
Complete this routine on its own or add it to an existing set of workouts. These exercises can be done as the preventive part to your daily training routine or as part of a warmup. Be sure to listen to your body, and push it only to the comfort limit.