Shoulder Blade Exercises

By Clint Hale

The shoulder blades (scapula) are the flat triangular bones at the back of the shoulder. Strengthening and stretching the scapula is important to keeping loose on the links, due to the importance of the shoulders on your golf game. There are a smattering of exercises that aid in strengthening the shoulder blades and the muscles around them, which are the foundation of your shoulders and the base of most arm movements.

Scapular Push-Up

This exercise strengthens the "serratus anterior," which holds the shoulder blade to the rib cage and is vital to achieving optimal shoulder stability. Perform this exercise by assuming a typical push-up position. Keeping your elbows straight, retract your shoulder blades so that your torso dips a few inches toward the ground. From there, protract your shoulder blades, so that your upper back takes on a hunched appearance of sorts. Return to original push-up position and repeat this exercise 10 to 12 times.

Behind the Neck Pull-Apart

This exercise strengthens the lower trapezius muscles, which aid in scapular upward rotation and general health of the shoulders. Stand with your arms stretched straight overhead and hold a short resistance band at shoulder width and your palms facing forward. From there, lower the band to a position behind your neck by pulling your shoulder blades back and flexing the elbows. Keep you chin tucked into your chest the whole time. Reset to original position and repeat this exercise 10 to 12 times.

Overhead External Shoulder Rotation

This exercise strengthens shoulder rotators, thereby optimizing shoulder stability during overhead arm actions. Stand with your upper right arm extended away from your body at shoulder level, with your elbow bent at a right angle and your shoulder rotated so that your forearm is directed at the floor. Also, hold a light (3 to 5 lb.) dumbbell in your right hand. From there, rotate your shoulder 180 degrees, stopping when your right forearm is aimed at the ceiling. Return to starting position, and redo the exercise with your left arm. Complete 10 reps with each arm.

About The Author

Clint Hale has worked for a number of media outlets throughout his seven-year career, including the San Antonio Express-News (for whom he covered golf, football, and general features) and He earned a Journalism degree from the University of Texas.


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