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Don't Forget About Scapular Stabilization!

There's a whole slew of shoulder exercise programs out there. Many of them are great, but many need to be scrutinized. When determining whether or not a shoulder/upper body exercise program is appropriate, we often suggest looking at which muscle groups are being targeted. If the "scapular stabilizers" are mentioned, you're probably on the right track.

An important component of upper body training involves scapular stabilization, which involves shoulder blade-specific movements designed to strengthen the muscles that assist with overhead motion. When reaching overhead, movement occurs primarily at two joints: the glenohumeral joint and scapulothoracic joint. Since two joints are involved, a proper rhythm is essential. This so-called "scapulohumeral rhythm" is therefore an important concept to consider when selecting an upper body training program because if your scapulohumeral rhythm is dysfunctional, many shoulder issues can ensue.

When selecting an upper body training program, make sure the shoulder blades are involved. Oftentimes, the glenohumeral joint is the target and the scapulothoracic joint is forgotten. Specific muscles that should be targeted are the upper trapezius, middle trapezius, lower trapezius, serratus anterior and rhomboids. The deltoids, pectoralis muscles and rotator cuff muscles should also be involved, but if the scapular stabilizers are forgotten, you may be cause a dysfunctional scapulohumeral rhythm.

Here are three exercises that give you a great place to start:

1. Prone Ts (targeting the middle trapezius)

2. Prone Ys (targeting the lower trapezius)

3. Prone 90/90s (targeting the middle trapezius, rhomboids and rotator cuff)

If you have any questions, feel free to call us at 907-622-2500. We'd love to assist you in developing a proper training program!

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