Stretches for the shoulder blade help to stretch the muscles responsible for drawing your shoulder blades together and bringing your arms back toward your body. Shoulder blade stretches are also essential in maintaining and improving the range of motion in your shoulder joints. Warm-up your muscles by making large circles with your arms, moving from your shoulder joints. For the exercises you need a immovable, vertical and horizontal bars and a pull-up bar easily found in your local gym.
Horizontal shoulder flexion stretches your rhomboids and your middle trapezius muscles. These muscles are between your spine bones, or vertebrae, and the inside border of your shoulder blade bone, or scapula. Horizontal shoulder flexion also stretches the smaller muscles of your shoulder, your rotator cuff muscles and the posterior head of your deltoid, or shoulder muscle. Perform horizontal shoulder flexion by bringing your left arm across your chest and pulling the arm with your right hand to increase the stretch against your muscles. You may also do this stretch by holding onto an immovable bar. Grasp the bar in your left hand at shoulder height and turn your body into your left shoulder, using your body weight to lean into the stretch. Hold the stretch for 15 seconds, then switch sides.
Scapula abduction stretches move your shoulder blade away from the middle of your body, stretching your shoulder blade muscles and your lat muscle. While your lat muscle does not attach to your shoulder blade, it does work with the shoulder blade muscles to draw your arms back toward your body. Complete a scapula abduction stretch by firmly grabbing on to a pull-up bar with your palms down and hands shoulder-width apart. Carefully step off the foot supports and hang for 15 seconds. You can also do this stretch on a lat pull down machine with the weight set at 75 percent of your body weight. Try to sit on the lat pull down chair as you hang from the pull down bar.
The American College of Sports Medicine reports body temperature is at its highest later in the day. This means your shoulder blade muscles are less prone to injury and you can best improve the flexibility of your shoulder joint between the afternoon and early evening hours. Stretch the muscles of both shoulder blades at the same time with horizontal abduction. Perform this stretch by grasping an immovable bar at shoulder-width distance and your palms down. Bend your knees and hips, lean backward to stick your buttocks out and use your body weight to increase the stretch on your shoulder blade muscles. You may also do this stretch on a seated cable row with the pulley between waist and shoulder height. Set the weight to 75 percent of your body weight. Hold the stretch for 15 seconds.
- Anatomy & Physiology; Gary Thibodeau, Ph.D. and Kevin Patton, Ph.D.
- American College of Sports Medicine: Chronobiological Effects on Exercise
- Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.