Standing "W" Scapular Retraction

Purpose

The “W” Scapular Retraction exercise is designed to strengthen the muscles between your shoulder blades, leading to improved posture and decreasing the stress on your neck, shoulders and thoracic spine.

Set up

Get into a comfortable standing position with your feet hip width apart. You should be standing in good alignment with your shoulders stacked on top of your hips. Your arms will be in a “W” position with your elbows out to the sides and bent at a 90 degree angle.

You may also perform this exercise seated on a chair.

Movement

To begin, breathe in. Breathe out as you squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold this position for 5 seconds. You can pretend that you are trying to squeeze a pencil between your shoulder blades. Make sure the movement is coming from your shoulder blade muscles. Keep your lower abdominal muscles engaged, and avoid arching your low back as you perform the movement. Breathe in as you relax.

Tips

  • Make sure the movement is coming from your shoulder blade muscles. Do not just bring your arms back.
  • You should not experience any shoulder pain with this exercise. Stop if you experience any shoulder pain.
  • Keep your lower abdominal muscles engaged, and avoid arching your low back as you perform the movement.
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