Shoulder Retraction

Dose

Perform 5 retractions 3 times per day, or when you feel pain in the back or shoulders.

Purpose

The muscles between and below the shoulder blades are often weak, while the muscles around the neck and lower back are too tight. This imbalance can cause pain in various areas, and reduce performance and posture. Learning to activate the weaker muscles is important for achieving better biomechanics.

Method

Perform a Pelvic Tilt to make sure your pelvis is in a natural position, then hold it there by gently performing the Drawing In exercise. Pull the chin back so that the neck is in a neutral position. Once the spine is aligned and you are holding the pelvis and neck in a neutral position, pull the shoulder blades back and down towards each other. Tray to push the chest out, without arching the lower back. Hold the squeeze for 1 second, and then relax and repeat.

Common Mistakes

• Squeezing the shoulder blades back and up, instead of back and down. The muscles that pull the shoulder blades up are often easier to use than the ones that pull them down. To make sure you are not raising the shoulders as you pull back, perform this exercise in front of a mirror, and keep your chin pulled back the entire time.

• Arching the lower back. The muscles that arch the lower back and tip the hips forward are much easier to use than the muscles we are trying to target t with this exercise. To make sure they are not compensating, keep the pelvis in a neutral piston with your abdominal muscles turned on as you squeeze the shoulder blades back.

Progressiion Threshold

Once you are able to perform this exercise comfortably without arching the lower back or shrugging the shoulders, progress to exercises like the Bent Over Fly or TYI for more strength.