The shoulder joint is made from a number of muscles and bones and is susceptible to injury and pain. The group of muscles and tendons located in the shoulder joint are together referred to as rotator cuff muscles. The complicated anatomy of the shoulder joint makes it vulnerable to pain, dislocation and injuries. Scapula or the shoulder blade is the triangular shaped bone that connects the arm bone and the collarbone. Each of the scapula helps in making easy movements around the shoulder joint. All the muscles of the rotator cuff start from the scapula and they attach to the head of the humerus (upper arm bone).
Any problem to the shoulder blade or scapula can bring strain on the rotator cuff muscles and may lead to severe pain. Thus, it is necessary to perform scapula exercises that will strengthen the muscles around the scapulae. Let us take a look at some such important exercises that will help to strengthen these muscles.
Shoulder Blade Exercises
As mentioned earlier, the shoulder joint has a very complicated anatomy. The easy and smooth movements of the arm are possible due to coordination of all the muscles and bones in the shoulder. The traditional shoulder strengthening exercises do help to strengthen the shoulder muscles, but they do not target the muscles that stabilize the scapula. This negligence can lead to muscle imbalance and bad posture problems. Given below are few of the exercises for scapula.
Overhead External Shoulder Rotation: This is one of the scapula stability exercises that uses light weight dumbbells. Stand in an upright position and hold a dumbbell in your right hand. Rest your left hand on your left thigh. Now, extend your right arm up to shoulder level such that your elbow makes a right angle and your forearm points towards the ceiling. Then, rotate your shoulder internally such that your forearm points towards the floor. Do 10 repetitions and repeat the exercise with your left hand.
Wall Push-Ups: Stand against a wall with shoulder apart distance between your legs. Maintain a distance of 1 to 1.5 feet between the wall and your feet. Now, place your palms on the wall surface at shoulder height. Then, slowly move your upper body by bending your elbows and bring your face near the wall surface. Ensure that you keep your hips and back straight while leaning ahead. Get back to the starting position and do 10 repetitions.
Arm Reach: This is one of the most simple scapula strengthening exercises. First lie down on your back on the floor. Raise both the arms with your fingertips pointing towards the ceiling. Keep your elbows straight while raising your arms. Now, keep your elbows straight and try to raise your arms higher towards the ceiling. See that you raise up from your shoulder blade. Perform 10 to 12 repetitions of this scapula exercise.
Dumbbell Shrugs: To perform this scapula exercise, hold dumbbells in both your hands and keep shoulder width distance between your legs. Your palms should face inwards towards your body and your back should be straight. Rest your palms on your thighs and pull your shoulders upwards as if you are trying to touch your ears. Hold the position for a few seconds and get back to the initial position. Do 10 repetitions of this exercise.
These were some useful scapula exercises for you. Try to include them in your daily workout program and strengthen your shoulder blade muscles to avoid severe problems due to injuries.