We have detected that you do not have web browser cookies enabled. Cookies are required in order to add items to your shopping cart and place an order. Please enable cookies if you wish to shop on merrithew.com. Thank you.
MERRITHEW Logo


The Basic Principles | Shoulder Stability

Stabilizing your scapulae [shoulder blades] on the back of the rib cage is as important as contracting your abs during the initiation of every exercise. This will help you avoid strain through your neck and upper shoulders.

To achieve proper placement, a sense of width should be maintained across the front and back of the shoulders. Make sure you neither allow your shoulders to round forward too much nor squeeze together toward the spine. Shoulders should not be lifted too far,or over-depressed. Placement should be somewhere between these two positions.

The shoulder blades have a large range of motion, so remember to maintain stability (but not rigidity) at all times: a) when the spine is neutral and the arms are resting; b) when the spine is moving, and; c) when the arms are moving in any direction.

SHOULDER STABILITY PRINCIPLE EXERCISES


1. Scapula Isolations (Protraction & Retraction) lying down Click on an image to view image at a larger size.
Click through the steps at the bottom of the pop-up window.

STARTING POSITION
Lying on back, pelvis and spine neutral.
Knees bent, feet hip-distance apart on mat.
Arms long, reaching to ceiling, palms facing in.

INHALE reach fingers towards ceiling allowing shoulder blades to lift off mat. A widening between shoulder blades will occur - this is protraction.

EXHALE bring shoulder blades back to starting position, widening across front of collarbone. Try to keep space between the hands constant.
Repeat 3–5 times.



STARTING POSITION
Lying on back, pelvis and spine neutral.
Knees bent, feet hip-distance apart on mat.
Arms long, reaching to ceiling.

INHALE bring shoulder blades closer together and toward mat. A widening across front of collarbone will occur - this is retraction. Try to keep space between the hands constant.

EXHALE bring shoulder blades back to starting position.
Repeat 3–5 times.



2. Scapula Isolations (Protraction & Retraction) while seated Click on an image to view image at a larger size.
Click through the steps at the bottom of the pop-up window.

STARTING POSITION
Sit up on top of your sit-bones with your shoulders directly over your hips. Be sure you are not arching your back or slouching.

INHALE reach fingers forward. A widening between shoulder blades will occur - this is protraction. Try to keep space between the hands constant.

EXHALE bring shoulder blades back to starting position, widening across front of collarbone.

Repeat 3–5 times.


STARTING POSITION
Sit up on top of your sit-bones with your shoulders directly over your hips. Be sure you are not arching your back or slouching. Arms reaching out in front of torso, palms facing in.

INHALE bring shoulder blades closer together. A widening across front of collarbone will occur - this is retraction. Try to keep space between the hands constant.

EXHALE bring shoulder blades back to starting position.

Repeat 3–5 times.

2. Scapula Isolations / Elevation & Depression
(A.K.A Shoulder Shrugs)
Click on an image to view image at a larger size.
Click through the steps at the bottom of the pop-up window.

STARTING POSITION
Lying on back. Arms resting by sides.
INHALE slide shoulder blades up toward ears - this is elevation.

EXHALE slide shoulder blades away from ears, lightly pressing hands into mat - this is depression. (Don't round shoulders forward during depression.)



3. Arm Scissors STARTING POSITION

Lying on back. Arms reaching to ceiling.
INHALE stay.
EXHALE reach one arm overhead, other arm down by hip, maintain ab connection, as well as contact between rib cage and mat. Keep shoulder blades stable.
INHALE reach both arms to ceiling.
Repeat scissoring arms opposite way.



4. Arm Circles Click on an image to view image at a larger size.
Click through the steps at the bottom of the pop-up window.

STARTING POSITION
Lying on back. Arms resting by sides.

INHALE reach both arms toward ceiling and then overhead. Maintain ab connection, as well as contact between rib cage and mat. Keep shoulder blades stable.

EXHALE circle arms out to sides and around to hips

Complete 3 to 5 repetitions, then
reverse direction, for an additional
3 to 5 reps.