Standing Scapular Retraction with External Rotation with Resistance

Resistance Bands


The scapular retraction with external rotation exercise is a postural strengthening exercise that works your shoulder blade muscles. These muscles are important for shoulder stability and maintaining an upright posture.

Set up

For this exercise, you’ll want to use a light resistance band. If you’re using Theraband, you can use a yellow or a red resistance band. The muscles we’re targeting are small and fatigue easily so if you’re unsure what to use for resistance, start a bit lighter and progress from there.

To begin, stand tall with your feet hip width apart. You can also do this exercise seated if preferred. Bend your elbows to 90 degrees by your sides and hold your resistance band slightly narrower than shoulder width.  Hold the band so that your thumbs are pointing up.

Your wrists should be in line with your forearms so that you’re not bending your wrists.


Take the slack off at the starting position as you rotate your arms outwards by squeezing your shoulder blades together, keeping your abdominals engaged. Return to the starting position with control.


  • Don't let your shoulder blades shrug upward. Keep them squeezing together and down.
  • The band will be pulling your arms back quickly but you’ll want to resist that pull and return slowly.
  • Stay within a pain free range of motion.
  • Make sure you keep your elbows close to your sides as you do this exercise.  Don’t let them flare out.
  • You should feel this working the back of your shoulders.
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