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Hi Friends of Oompf gym, it’s Alvan here. Today, we will be talking about why scapular strength is important.


Scapular strength and stability are important to reduce risk of injury to the rotator cuff; lack of strength may also result in decreased neuromuscular performance of the shoulder and increased stress to the anterior shoulder capsule. An injury to the shoulder can potentially result in long downtime from your favorite sport and limits your workout routine, upper body exercises.

The scapula, commonly referred to as the shoulder blade, is the bone that sits above the rib cage in the upper back. It creates the shoulder joint where it meets with the head of the humerus—the bone of the upper arm. The scapulae are flat bones that serve as attachment site s for 18 muscles which act to move the scapula through six movements: elevation, depression, upward rotation, downward rotation,protraction and retraction.

The scapulae can move in six directions and each movement is produced by specific, primary muscles.

Action of the Scapula

What the Action Looks Like (Try It Yourself)

Primary Muscles


Glide the shoulders upward toward the ears

Upper trapezius

levator scapulae


Glide the shoulders downward

Lower trapezius

Retraction (adduction)

Pinch the shoulder blades toward each other


middle trapezius

Protraction (abduction)

Round the shoulders forward

Serratus anterior

Upward rotation

Lift the arms overhead; scapulae will follow and rotate upward

Upper and middle trapezius

Downward rotation

Return the arms downward from the overhead


Exercises To Strengthen Your Scapula

There are some specific exercises I recommend to do. You can choose two to three exercises if you are currently facing some of these shoulder issues :

  1. I T Y Ws

  • 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.

You can do these for a set of 8-10 reps for each exercise. Do 3 sets for a start.

  1. Scapular pushups

  • 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.

You can do these for a set of 15-20 reps. Do 3 sets for a start.

  1. Band pull-aparts

  • 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.

You can do these for a set of 15-20 reps. Do 3 sets for a start.

  1. Wall ball circles

  • Stand facing a flat wall and holding an exercise ball or a light medicine ball in front of you, feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Press the 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.

You can do these for a set of 10-12 reps for each direction. Do 3 sets for a start.

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