Importance of Scapular Exercises

With all shoulder injuries, the muscle group that is affected are scapular muscles.  I know this is a bold statement but n many cases other shoulder injuries lead to more severe shoulder injuries.  For example as minor shoulder injury may affect the scapular muscles.  If with this first injury, scapular exercises are not used to help recover from the injury, it to lead to more sever injuries like a rotator cuff injury or shoulder impingement.

The scapular muscles are one of three muscle groups in the shoulder.  What sets the scapular muscles apart from the other two much ground in the shoulder is scapular muscles are affected the greatest with a shoulder injury.  In fact, with a shoulder injury, the scapular muscle turn off and stop working.  With them turning off they lose there ability to active and their endurance.  With one of the muscle groups not working, it puts more stress on the other two muscle groups in the shoulder.  The one that tasks the greatest amount of strain is the rotator cuff.  With this cascade of issues occurring, it is important to activate and build the endurance of scapular exercises.  This is done with scapular exercises.

What if Scapular Exercises Are Ignored?

Many times, the focus of a shoulder rehabilitation program is strengthening but what is often strengthened are the larger shoulder muscles.  In many cases the larger shoulder muscles do not need strengthening because strengthening them even more creates a muscle imbalance with the other shoulder muscles.  This muscle imbalance make the shoulder injury worse and slows down or even prevents recovery.

How is Strengthening the Shoulder Different than Scapular Exercises

In many cases strengthening the shoulder ends up focusing on the large muscle groups of the shoulder.  With most shoulder injuries, these muscles are not the issue.  It is the scapular muscles which create stability to the shoulder and allow for overhead movement.  Scapular muscles need to be focused on differently than other muscles.  With scapular muscles the focus is on activation and endurance.

If You Have a Shoulder Injury, Make Sure to do Some Scapular Exercises

If you have a shoulder injury, you want to be doing scapular exercises to help with your injury recovery.  This is important because we want to activate and build the endurance of the scapular muscles.  We do not want to create a muscular imbalance.

Make sure if you have a shoulder injury you focus on doing scapular exercises.  This will help with a speedy recovery from a shoulder injury and prevent a future shoulder injury.

Rick Kaselj, MS

Author of the Scapular Stabilization Exercise Program