Scapular Wall Slides with Overhead Shrug and Liftoff

Scapular Wall Slides with Overhead Shrug and Liftoff

Pain and weakness around the neck/shoulder area? Tight traps/lats? Difficulty getting your hands fully extended over your head?

Here is a corrective exercise that will help you 1) gain close to full rotation of the scapula and 2) more efficiently recruit the upper trapezius. This exercise comes straight from corrective GENUIS (if I must say so myself) Eric Cressey, M.S., NSCA C.S.C.S, and president and co-founder of Cressey Sports Performance. 

Eric explains that most individuals rely heavily on their lattisumus dorsi, which can lead to muscle imbalances and weakness in other areas. It is important to strengthen and mobilize the upper traps, as they elevate the scapula and oppose the depressive pull of the lattisiumus dorsi (Cressey, 2012). 

Here are the steps! 

1. Align yourself against a wall or mirror with you arms on the wall at 90 degrees. Please make sure that you're spine is in neutral, you are squeezing your glutes just a bit to keep them active, and you are breathing deep into your belly (diaphragm breathing...we'll talk about this later)!

2. Slide your arms up against the wall into extension. 

3. Shrug your shoulders. Is your spine still in neutral? Are you still firing your glutes?

4. While keeping your shoulders shrugs, lift your arms up and away from the wall. 

5. Bring your arms back to the wall, and slide them back down to 90 degrees. Repeat 8-10X

Check out this video if you'd like to see this mobility exercise in motion!

Erin M. Kershaw, M.S., ACSM-HFS
Fitness Director, The Edge at the Ascutney Mountain Resort