Improve Shoulder Mobility, Build More Muscle & Strength In Your Upper-Back, and Prevent Injury With These Prone Exercises for Scapular Stability
In this blog I show you 4 prone exercises to target your upper-back and shoulders to improve your scapular stability. In terms of your fitness, this:
- Improves shoulder mobility for greater range of motion, more muscle activation, and greater muscular awareness.
- Helps you build more muscle and increase strength in your shoulders & upper-back.
- Prevents injury in your shoulder, including rotator cuff strains & tears, shoulder impingement and pain, and more.
I wish I had started these exercises years ago – but better late than never! I recommend doing these exercises at least 2-3 times per week. They are great for:
- A standalone workout.
- A warm-up before workouts involving your upper-body.
- Before a yoga session.
Watch the video for 4 incredible scapular stability exercises to build strength in your upper-back and shoulders, improve stability, prevent injury, and increase shoulder mobility. Scroll on for a photo of each exercise along with instructions on proper technique.
And now the exercises:
1) Prone Y
Directions: Lying flat on your chest with your toes tucked and your forehead relaxed on the ground, extend your arms straight forward at shoulder-width distance. Turn your thumbs to face up, and lift your arms off the ground, biceps also wrapping up toward the ceiling. Keep your ribs drawn in and your head relaxed on the ground. Hold your arms as high as possible, and maintain height. Hold for 30-60 seconds, complete 1-3 sets.
2) Prone T
Directions: Lie flat on your chest with your toes tucked and forehead relaxed on the ground. Extend arms laterally in opposite directions, forming a “T” shape with your body, palms facing down. Lift your arms away from the ground, extending your arms as far away from another as possible. Keep your forehead relaxed on the ground and your spine neutral. Hold for at least 30 seconds, up to 60 seconds. Complete 1-3 sets total, with 10-15 seconds rest.
3) Prone W
Directions: Lie flat on your chest with your arms along your side, forehead relaxed on the ground, and toes tucked. Retract your shoulder blades, opening your chest as much as possible while maintaining a neutral spine. Lift your arms and press your palms toward the ceiling, avoiding internal rotation in the shoulder as you do so. Focus on engagement through the outer-back of your shoulders. Hold for at least 30 seconds, up to 60 seconds. Complete 1-3 times.
4) Prone Pull-Ups
Directions: Lie flat on your chest with your toes tucked and forehead relaxed on the ground. Start with your arms extended forward, thumbs facing up and lifted off the ground. As you exhale, pull your elbows toward your sides, mimicking a pull-up. Keep your arms as high as possible to avoid grinding/clicking/popping in your shoulders. Your chest remains flat on the ground for the entirety of this exercise. Focus on external rotation through the shoulders to improve shoulder mobility while moving through these pull-ups. Reps should last at least 5 seconds each. Complete 10 total, and repeat 1-2 times.
Recommended reps and sets:
Try to get 60-90 total seconds under tension for each exercise. Break it up into 2 or 3 sets.
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When can I do these exercises?
You can use these exercises before your resistance training workouts to prevent shoulder pain and improve your upper-body performance, or as a standalone routine to improve shoulder strength & prevent injury. They’re also great to do before a yoga workout to improve your muscle activation, and get a more effective workout.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to post in the comments below. If you haven’t already taken my FREE 7-Day Intro, click here to learn more.
Where can I find workouts with exercises like this?
These exercises are heavily incorporated into the Strength Foundations Course, my newest program, which is available in the Man Flow Yoga Members’ Area. These workouts teach you muscle activation and muscle-isolation exercises to improve strength and stability in a particular area, and then incorporate them into full-body exercises and yoga postures. The result is a challenging, incredibly effective workout to help you improve your overall physical performance, while also preventing injury.
About the author, Dean Pohlman, Founder & CEO of Man Flow Yoga, Author of Yoga Fitness for Men, Expert on Yoga Fitness for Men.
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