Does it feel like one of your scaps can’t retract as much as the other one?
Does it feel like it’s getting jammed or stuck when you retract it?
Does this translate to pain running down your arm when you try to bench?
If so, you may be suffering from scapular winging.
Scapular winging is when your scap abnormally protrudes from your back… Sort of like it is popping out.
If you decide to see the physio about this, they’ll probably give you some scapular retraction exercises to do.
They may also tell you to strengthen your serratus anterior (the muscle under your armpit).
But as someone who’s done these exercises for months on end without any improvement, I can tell you: they don’t work.
Why do simple retraction exercises like T’s, Y’s, and rows not work?
Because a muscle that’s tight and weak won’t activate until it’s been released.
I’ve mentioned this in previous posts.
What happens when you do retraction exercises is the surrounding muscles will help to move the scap, rather than the scap moving itself.
This is why most of us have overactive upper traps. You can feel the muscles at the base of your neck working when you retract your scaps.
So how can you release the surrounding muscles?
By first releasing your thoracic spine using these 2 simple exercises:
Do these exercises daily.
Also, get a lacrosse ball and massage the tender areas around your pecs and scaps.
After a few weeks, your scaps will start to feel a lot looser.
The surrounding muscles will be activating a lot less during retraction.
And you’ll be able to form a nice “pinch” with your shoulder blades.
That’s when you know you’re ready to progress to retraction exercises, such as T’s, Y’s and rows.
Until then, keep working.
I’ll see you next time.