The video above shows all the movements of the scapulae (shoulder blades).
This post focuses on the depression movement (at the 23 second mark).

 

Stress, tension and anxiety are the main culprits for neck and top of the shoulder pain. These symptoms can manifest themselves in a physical manner. If you find you wear your shoulders near your ears, consider the following exercises to help remedy the situation.

The two exercises described below are methods that promote good posture, reduce muscular spasms, fatigue and pain of the neck and shoulder.

 

Depression Dip

scapular-bench-depression

Equipment: bench or chair

Major Muscles worked for both exercises:
trapezius iv (lower trapezius), pectoralis minor

trapezius-muscleTrapezius muscle

 

pectoralis-minor1Pectoralis minor muscle

 

Position: Place the heels of your hands on the edge of a bench/chair with fingers pointing ahead. Elbows are slightly flexed. Line your spine and pelvis together and hang in a neutral position. Hips and knees are flexed and feet are flat on the floor. Hike scapulae (shoulder blades) towards the ears.

Movement: Keeping your neck, elbows, spine and pelvis still, exhale and slowly move your scapulae (shoulder blades) down. Hold for 5 seconds. Inhale and slowly allow the scapulae to return to stating position.
The only movement is the shoulder blades!

Common Errors:
– using the elbows to move making this exercise a triceps dip
– using legs and lowering or lifting the body
– moving the spine or pelvis away from the bench/chair

 

High Pulley Scapular Depression

scapulae-dip

Equipment: cable pulley (high setting), lat pull down machine

Major Muscles Worked: trapezius iv (lower trapezius), pectoralis minor

Position: Sitting at cable pulley or lat pull down machine, place hands pronated in a wide position on bar or handles. Place feet flat on floor and, if using lat pull down machine, place legs under the stabilization pads. Hips are at 90°, neck, spine and wrists are in neutral position (natural position), elbows are slightly flexed and abdominals are contracted.

Movement: With scapulae elevated, exhale and slowly move shoulder blades down. Hold for 5 seconds. Inhale and slowly allow the scapulae to return to stating position.
The only movement is the shoulder blades!

Common Errors:
– performing a lat pull down – the bar is not moved in this exercise
– moving away from cable pulley or pull down machine allowing hip extensors or spine to assist

Want help with these or other shoulder exercises? Please leave a comment…

 

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