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How to: Do a Scapular Retraction.

Scapular Retractions

Scapular Retractions

Name:  Prone Scapular Retractions.

Also known as:  (If you know these by any other name, please leave a comment below).

Main muscles used:  Upper back.

Other muscles used:  Back of shoulders.

Top tips:

  • Lay flat, face down, on the floor, with your arms out to the side and elbows bent.
  • Keep your chest and head touching the floor at all times.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades back together and lift your elbows and hands up off the floor.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together as close as they go.  Pause for a second, then return to the start.
  • Keep your elbows and hands the same height throughout.
  • Keep your arms directly out to the side of your body throughout.
  • Put your mind “in your shoulder blades” to make sure they do the work
Scapular Retractions

Scapular Retractions

Common mistakes:

  • Don’t arch your back up, or raise your head off the floor during the move.
  • Don’t rotate your arms, allowing your elbows or hands to drift higher than the other.
  • Don’t let your shoulders slump on the floor or hunch up near your ears during the more.
  • Don’t let your elbows drift downwards towards your hips.


This is a simple strengthening exercise for your upper back.  It helps strengthen the muscles that can wither and weaken if we spend too long sitting down (eg, in a car/lorry, office, sofa etc).

It combines well with the Doorway Chest Stretch.

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