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Scapular Retraction Exercises

Bhakti Satalkar Feb 28, 2019
The scapular retraction exercises are used for strengthening the muscles of the shoulders. They are also used for healing various shoulder injuries.
There are a lot of people who suffer from neck and back problems due to various reasons. The most common is sitting in the wrong position. We often, invariably, tend to slouch while working at our desks.
Since most of us tend to work on computers and pretty much do only similar range of motions everyday, there are certain muscles in the body, which are worked more than others. One such pain is observed in the scapular muscles. These muscles are located in the upper back region, where they connect the floating bones in the upper back.
To locate the muscles exactly, reach your back over your shoulder and press the back. The bone you will feel is the bone we are talking about. Scapular retraction exercises prove immensely helpful to prevent injury to the scapular region by strengthening these muscles.

Exercises for Scapular Retraction

These exercises involve squeezing the shoulder blades towards one another. When you are doing the shoulder exercises for physical therapy or otherwise, it is important to have control over the scapular muscles.
So that the shoulder exercises are more stable, scapular retraction has to be used. Often, people do not have scapular control that places the shoulder joint in a vulnerable position.

Exercise 1

This exercise can easily be done anywhere, standing or sitting. To do this exercise, raise your arms in front of you at shoulder level. Now, slowly start rounding your back, as though you are trying to hug a person in front of you.
Do not bring your arms behind, but continue to squeeze the muscles located between the shoulder blades. Hold the position for about 8 to 10 seconds and then release. When you are doing this exercise, make sure your abdominal muscles are pulled in.

Exercise 2

To do this exercise, you will have to loop a rope in a bar on the wall. Hold one end of the rope in one hand and the other in the other hand. Now, pull the rope towards you such that the shoulder blades come closer to one another. Hold in the position for a few seconds, release the tension before you repeat the exercise again.

Exercise 3

For the next retraction exercise, sit on the floor with your legs bent at the knee and your feet placed on the floor. Place your hands behind you, such that your fingers are pointing towards your buttocks.
As far as possible, do not place the entire hand on the floor, instead make small spiders with your fingers, so that only the fingertips are touching the floor. Now push your chest out as you move the shoulder blades in towards one another as though they were to touch each other. Hold this position for a few seconds, release and repeat the exercise again.

Exercise 4

The next exercise will help in both retraction and protraction of scapula. To do this exercise, you will have to use an exercise band. Fasten the exercise band to a door knob and stand facing the door. Grab the band with your arms extended in front of you.
Now, gradually push your shoulder blades closer to one another, but make sure your arm stays straight. The other part of the exercise is to stand with your back towards the door.
Grasp the band with your arm extended straight in front of you. Gradually move your shoulder forward, ensuring your arm stays extended straight in front. Hold the position for a few seconds and release.
These were some of the scapular retraction exercises. Before you start doing these exercises, it is advisable to consult your physiotherapist. Practice these exercises in front of the physiotherapist, to ensure you do not go wrong with these exercises and your condition heals faster.