Neck and shoulder pain and injury are common ailments these days because most of us sit at a desk hunched over a computer screen for like 9 hours a day.
And while rolling out and stretching are essential to getting rid of our knots and tight spots to lessen the pain, there is one essential exercise we all need to be including in our workout routines.
It isn’t a glamorous move. It isn’t a move that is going to smash you and make you feel like you got in a gnarly workout.
But it is a move that is going to get rid of your pain and help you get exponentially stronger in the long run.
The Scapular Wall Hold is an essential move everyone should be doing, but no one really is.
It will help you activate your lower traps and the big muscles of your back so that when you perform a heavy back row, a pull up or a bazillion other exercises, you won’t injury your neck or shoulders.
Often because big muscles aren’t activated because of our posture from sitting all day, small muscles will try to do work they shouldn’t be doing.
And then we get injured.
Prevent injury and start including the Scapular Wall Hold in your workout routine.
Below is a break down of the move as well as a few variations.
Scapular Wall Hold Form:
Stand with your back to the wall.
Step a couple of inches away and bend your arms to 90 degrees. Keep your elbows in by your sides and drive them back toward the wall. Do not shrug your shoulders as you drive your elbows back and pinch your shoulder blades down and together.
With your elbows back, lean into the wall so that only your elbows are touching. Do not let your upper arms or back touch the wall.
Relax your head back instead of tucking your chin. Pinch your shoulder blades down and back while keeping your core tight as you lean into the wall. Squeeze your glutes and don’t arch your low back. Really press your chest out so that you feel this move low between your shoulder blades.
There are many variations of the scapular hold that you can do if you want to mix things up. Every variation shown here can be done by everyone (beginners to advanced exercisers) with slight adjustments.
Below are variations and modifications so that any level can do each one.
For the scapular wall hold, beginners will not want to put themselves at as much of an incline to the wall.
Another great variation is the Prone Scapular Hold.
To do the Prone Scapular Hold, lie face down on a bench with your legs out straight behind you and your arms hanging down toward the ground. Bend your elbows to about 90 degrees. Advanced exercisers may grab weights in each hand. Then drive your elbows back and draw your shoulder blades down and together. Squeeze your glutes to protect your low back. You should feel this low between your shoulder blades. Hold at the top, pinching your shoulder blades together and driving your elbows back. Relax your head and neck as you hold. Do not shrug your shoulders.
A third form of the scapular hold can also be done on a bar or suspension trainer. I sometimes call it the Inverted Row Hold.
To do the Inverted Row Hold variation, hold a suspension trainer strap in each hand or do the move off a bar. Walk your feet out so you are leaning back. The closer to parallel to the ground you get, the harder the move will be. Squeeze your core and glutes and press your chest out so there is tension between your shoulder blades. Then row up, keeping your body in a nice straight line. Row until your chest comes up to the handles and hold there. Do not let your hips sag or your body arch as you hold. Do not start to turn your hands in and rotate your wrists. Keep your hands and wrists in line with your forearms.
THANK YOU. Wow until yesterday I didn’t realize what was causing my pain and upon research I determined I’ve got winged scapulas and then research about that eventually lead me to this article. How long should you hold the Scapular Wall Hold? How many reps/day and sessions/wk should I do this?
Again, thanks. I think you hit the nail on the head with this article. Yeah, not a glamorous iron pumping move, but if my shoulder/back pain subsides I will be so grateful!
Hi Bex. Just make sure you don’t shrug when you do it or you will contribute to your pain. I would hold it for 20-30 seconds to start and really focus on retracting your shoulder blades down and back. Do it every day, 3-4 times a day…whenever you get up from your desk if you work at a computer. Then work up to 1 minute holds a few times a week.
It is a great warm up move. We often do it for 3-4 rounds of 30 seconds to 1 minute a few times a week!
If you need any help or have other questions, feel free to email me at [email protected]. Cori