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Video:Pilates Scapular Stabilization Exercise

with Kimberly Corp

Scapular stabilization exercises not only alleviate neck tension - they also get your posture in top form. Learn simple pilates scapular stabilization exercises that you can even do at your desk!See Transcript

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Transcript:Pilates Scapular Stabilization Exercise

Hello, I am Kimberly Corp for Pilates on Fifth in New York City, for About.com. Today's exercise is the scapular stabilization exercise for pilates.

What Is Pilates Scapular Stabilization?

Now, scapular stabilization is important, both for neck tension - most of us go through life hunched over like this because we are hurrying or we are sitting at desks - and for good posture. Once we open our shoulders and roll them down our back our posture is better, we are making a better first impression. And my model today will be my sister, Catherine.

The Neutral Scapular

For the scapular stabilization exercise, we will do both elevation and depression, and protraction and retraction. So, we will have our model turn around so you can see what is going on with the scapula. Start by reaching the fingertips forward. Now this is neutral where the scapula is lying flat on the back.

Scapular Stabilization: Protraction

On the inhale, reach your fingertips away, like you are reaching for something in front of you, trying to grab it but someone has your ribs, so you see the scapula widen across the back. And then on the exhale, bring them right back to neutral so you are not pinching together, you have just found that place where they are flat on the back again.

Scapular Stabilization" Retraction

And now we will retract - inhale and pinch the shoulder blades together like you are crushing a nut right between your scapula, you can see they are pinched, and then exhale and reach back to neutral. Now a lot of people - go back into retraction again, Catherine - think that this is good posture because they are pinching their shoulders together. It is actually not good for the muscles to overwork this way, too much rhomboids, too much mid-traps, so you want to find that place where they are flat on the back.

So let's move through that -- inhale, move the fingertips forward, exhale back to neutral, inhale pinch the shoulder blades together, and exhale back to neutral. And one more time, inhale reach away, and exhale come back to that neutral position, and then inhale pinch, and exhale back to neutral.

Scapular Stabilization: Elevation and Depression

And now we will drop the arms for elevation and depression. Now most of us find ourselves like this as we move through life. We do not want that, but to get the right position -- inhale, bring the shoulders up, elevating the scapula, and now exhale, think of the lower trapezius, the lats help as well, to bring the shoulders down. Inhale, the shoulders go up to the ears, your neck disappears, and exhale, the muscles down the back connect, to bring the shoulders down. And just do one more, inhale coming up, and exhale down.

Now we want this down position -- we do not want someone to go too far down, where you see strain in the upper trapezius here -- you want that neutral position where the shoulders are reaching out to the sides, with a nice and open collarbone.

And that is scapular stabilization. Thanks for watching! To learn more, visit us on the Web at About.com.
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