Official Website of Sarah E. Rippel, BS, CPT, FMS

-Scapular Strength-


An often-overlooked area of the body is the thoracic spine.  Everyone wants a six pack.  Guys want a big chest, and gals want a tight butt.  No one really thinks about their upper back!  Combine this with the fact that many people spend way too much time in the seated position, it makes sense that posture is something most of us need to improve!

Scapular strength is a must if you want to improve and maintain your posture.  The ability to retract and depress the scaps is a great thing, so it makes sense to realize we must always be conscious of this in every exercise we do.  In addition, training the scaps under more dynamic circumstances is also important.  Challenge your scapular strength by incorporating a variety of exercises into your routine!

A great way of introducing a challenge is through the Scap Clock Drill, brought to you by  John Izzo.  As John puts it, “scapular stability is the root of most shoulder pain. Therefore, gaining scapular stability AND mobility begins with isolating this structure, and forcing dynamic movement to promote both mobility AND stability.”

I saw John’s video just a little while ago, and I got excited because Tuesday I had shot some video of myself messin’ around with the Valslides.  I came up with what i’m calling Scapular Sliding Reaches in quadruped position.  I have had a few clients mess around with these this week, and all seemed to love ’em!  Get into quadruped position (on all fours with knees under hips and back in neutral position).  The goal?  Reach with one arm while “crouching” with the other, keeping your core braced and back flat.  You can reach forward, diagonally, and to the side.  Exhale when you come back from each reach.  These are trickier than they look!

(Note: If you have any shoulder issues, don’t jump to the quadruped progression until you have made progress with John’s Scap Clock Drill!)

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4 responses

  1. Paul

    I like the idea John has because it uses no equipment. However, it does seem like you have a much smoother motion using the Valslides. I think many of these moments I can mimic using my ab wheels (built them in this manner: http://www.rosstraining.com/articles/wheel.html ), what do you think?

    March 13, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    • The possibilities are endless! 😀 The ab wheels should be more challenging than the Valslides. If using both wheels is too much, I would suggest keeping one hand on the ground and performing the reaches with one ab wheel under the other. BTW once again Ross Enamait has some good stuff! I love his homemade equipment. I need to make me some of these!

      March 13, 2009 at 3:58 pm

  2. Debbie

    Wow, I was just doing these exercises earlier today, although I was just messing around, trying out my furniture movers (my Valslides sub). I only have carpet so they work great. I got them more for leg exercises and core but will remember to do my shoulders now since you featured it here. I love my akrowheels since I have wrist issues, but they are very challenging. I can see this exercise helping me get stronger with the wheels. I really like your short clips of exercises Sarah, thanks!

    March 15, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    • Hey Debbie!!!

      The furniture sliders are the SAME thing!!!! They are way cheaper, too! The Valslide lady is making a fortune! LOL! 🙂
      I’m planning on making some homemade akrowheels! The sliders should be easier b/c of the friction compared to the wheels.
      Glad you are enjoying my vids!!!!! I have a gazillion of ’em that aren’t even on YouTube yet…the best is yet to come!

      Thanks for your input!
      Sarah

      March 15, 2009 at 8:09 pm

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