Modern lifestyle and intensive workout regimes have made us extremely adept at scapular protraction and equally terrible at scapular retraction. However, the latter is equally important for the proper movement of the shoulder blades. At Southgate Physio, whenever a patient comes to us with shoulder issues, we try to incorporate scapular retraction as part of the rehabilitation process to restore the normal functionality of the shoulder blades.
If you have been suffering from any kind of shoulder issue, you can get in touch with Southgate Physio in North London. Book an appointment online with us by calling our clinic or sending us an email.
What is Scapular Retraction and Why is it Important?
When we talk about core strength, people instantly associate it with abdominal muscles. However, the shoulders in your body also have a “core” of their own, the scapula, that helps in maintaining the stability and overall strength of the rest of the arm and shoulders.
Scapular retraction involves pulling the scapulae (or shoulder blades) towards each other, i.e., in the direction of the spine, without the shoulders shrugging upwards. Our normal routine deals with scapular protraction, which is the opposite movement of scapulae away from the spine.
Protracted scapulae make it exceptionally difficult for us to move our shoulder joints normally. You will notice difficulty in moving your arms upwards, standing up straight, and in extreme cases, poor posture. Scapular protraction also hampers the blood circulation to the upper arms, making it difficult to move your arms normally.
How to Improve Scapular Retraction?
As is the case with most injuries, improving scapular retraction requires regular practice. We consulted our experts to bring you three exercises you can try at home to improve scapular retraction.
Hook-Lying Reverse Presses
Lay flat on the ground and fold your knees to have your feet lying parallel to the ground. Bring your arms to the side as you would when holding a bar above your chest, forming a straight line with the elbows and shoulders. Try to bring your shoulder blades close to each other in one motion without lifting your elbows from the ground. Hold and relax, then repeat.
Passive Scapular Retraction
Start in the quadruped position (arms below your shoulder and knees below your hips). Keep your neck and head in line and let your chest drop down while still maintaining the line. Hold this position for a minute and let the shoulders get used to this position. Relax and repeat for 2 to 3 sets of 10-15.
Standing Scapular Retraction
Stand upright (you can also stand against a wall) with feet apart and retract the shoulder blades without shrugging the shoulders upwards towards the ears. You can do this exercise anywhere and we recommend doing this several times a day to restore normal scapular function.
For more advanced injuries and persistent pain, get in touch with Southgate Physio immediately. Our registered physiotherapists will conduct a thorough assessment and suggest the best course of recovery.
Physiotherapy Services We Offer
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