3 Exercises You Can Do To Fix Winged Scapula

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Here are 3 exercises that you can do to fix your winged scapula & improve overall shoulder movement & control.

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Your shoulder blades are meant to sit flush with your ribcage and when you move they move on the rib cage. When you get a winged scapula your shoulder blades stop moving kind of flush to the ribcage and they start moving off. So what that looks like is your shoulder blade kind of popping up off your ribcage.

We do not want this because this is usually associated with shoulder pain & shoulder movement dysfunction so you can’t really move your shoulder efficiently.

Serratus anterior muscle that just goes underneath your armpit & attaches on your ribs. This muscle’s main job is to protract the shoulder blade. Another thing that is usually accompanied with a weak serratus anterior is that you have to understand that the serratus anterior is on the front of your core. So we can get this anterior pelvic tilt extension going on that is when this muscle relaxes and isn’t turned on, & now that affects my shoulder blade movement. So anterior pelvic tilt can sometimes contribute or cause winged scapula. So if we can turn this muscle on & get it stronger, be able to control it better, then that is going to allow you to fix your winged scapula & just have overall better shoulder blade mechanics & movement.

Exercise 1: Wall Slides
To do a wall slide the first thing you need to do is find a wall and start in this position with your elbows in a 90-degree angle. I like to teach these the way Eric Cressey teaches these. We want to start in a position where we are pushing our mid back backwards which causes me to get a little more flexion in my back and it causes my shoulder blades to protract and then it’s the serratus anterior muscle that protracts the shoulder blades.

So from here we are going to slide our arms up the wall & notice we are not getting a whole lot of range of motion here but we’re making sure that upper back stays back & then we slide down. I’m going to make sure my shoulder blades are pushed apart & my upper back is pushed backwards and then slide upwards putting a little tension in the wall and then back. We are doing small movements & just trying to get shoulder blade movement here. You will have a tendency to do is get your arms up here and then dump down into that winged scapula position with shoulder blades retracted & not very congruent to my ribcage. If you find yourself doing that, we simply adjust & push away and move up. If the elbows come slightly off the wall, you are usually ok with that as long as we are trying to get them as close & flushed to the wall as we can.

Exercise 2: Scapular Push ups
We are going to start with a quadruped scapular push up which is going to be a little bit easier. Get in quadruped position. Knees under the hips and hands under the shoulders. We are going to start with our shoulder blades retracted so we just push those together. Then we are going to push the ground away & protract the shoulder blades, and then my shoulder blades come to the side. As you can see my upper back is full and there is no gap there anymore and we are just going to move in this range of motion.

You want to keep your spine and your core pretty neutral here. Just move at the shoulder blades independently of the spine. Keep your head neutral position and keep your head tucked. Really emphasize pushing the ground away and squeezing the serratus interior of your body to get yourself in this protracted position.

The next thing to do is do this exercise in a regular plank position. Start with shoulder blades retracted & keep tension in the stomach and push the ground away. Make sure that there is no gap in your back. It’s full and my abs are turned on and I have a really good plank position here. That leads us into the third and final exercise:

Exercise 3: Plank to Hollow Hold Position
Get back into plank position and overemphasize that top of the scapula pushup where we are pushing the ground away and this is just going to turn on the whole front part of my core. Which we talked about that serratus anterior is involved with. Spending a lot of time in a plank position is very good for gaining shoulder blade positioning through having a stronger stratus anterior. Now I’m going back into plank position and tuck my head in and push my hips up and really going to fire my abs here in a hollow hold position and then come back to my plank and keep pushing the ground away. Then repeat.

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