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October 19, 2022

Simple Scapular Warm Up Exercises For Upper Body Lift

Simple Scapular Warm Up Exercises For Upper Body Lift with Annie Miller

In the pursuit of building muscle and strength, people can tend to forget about the value of mobility – being able to get into proper end ranges. In this case, being able to move your shoulder blades around (aka scapular mobility).

I’d argue most people (including myself) could improve their scapular mobility –

How well you can protract, retract, depress, elevate, upward and downwardly rotate your scapulas? If the answer is that you don’t know, or you’re aware that it’s not so great, this post might be helpful.

Your scapulas are your shoulder blades. They make up part of the least stable joints in the body – the shoulder. Many tendons and muscles attach to the scapula – leaving them at the mercy of your ability to use said muscles. Just as with any other movement, scapular exercises are skills that can be learned and honed in on. Technically “working” your scapular mobility is working all the muscles that originate or insert to the scapula.

Not shown in the photo above are some of the largest players in moving your scapulas – your trapezius muscle group (upper, mid and lower) as well as the rhomboids. These both sit between the scapula and the spine (medially).

As mentioned earlier we can retract (pull scaps in towards spine), protract (allow scaps to glide out on the ribcage as the chest concaves), elevate (raise up towards ears like a shrug), depress (pack down into back pockets), and rotate (think tilting the bottom point of the scapula down and towards the spine, and up and out, away from the spine).

All in all, it is very important that your scapulas can move freely and under control when performing many upper body movements:

  • Pull ups
  • Rows
  • Overhead pressing
  • Push ups

These exercises are a simple place to start working and building awareness of your little flappers. Remember, muscles (rather tendons) pull on bones. Your shoulder blades are at the mercy of your ability to control, and mobilize them – THAT is done via your muscles. Implement these movements before upper body lifting days (horizontal or vertical focus). No weight is required. Remember the goal is building control and awareness.

Do you work on scapular mobility? It’s written into Built By Annie programming for good reason. Let me know below!

Original Instagram post seen below:

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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.

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