Persistent pain between the shoulder pains, or interscapular pain, may arise from a number of varying causes. The scapula is the bone that connects the humerus (upper arm bone) with the clavicle (collar bone) on either side of the body. The intrinsic muscles of the scapula include the subscapularis, teres minor, supraspinatus, and infraspinatus, all of which make up the rotator cuff. The major muscles surrounding the scapula that make up the interscapular region include the rhomboids, trapezius, and levator scapulae.
Weak scapular muscles can lead to an array of injuries including shoulder impingement, rotator cuff tears, and other shoulder-related pains. Pain may be followed by a restricted range of motion and may severely worsen if left untreated. Strengthening the scapular muscles can provide long-term benefits for rehabilitation and performance. Try the five following exercises below:
1. Lie down flat on a bench with a light dumbbell in each hand.
2. Hold the dumbbells on either side of your chest with the palms facing away from your shoulders and your elbow at a 90 degree angle.
3. Push your arms upwards and feel your shoulder blades separate. Remember to keep the dumbbells parallel to each other until the very top of the press.
3. Inhale and slowly bring down both dumbbells to the sides of your chest until you reach the 90 degree angle at the elbow. Breathe out on your next rep. Perform 3 sets of 10 reps.
1. Stand a few steps away from a wall, then place your hands on the wall so that they are slightly more than shoulder-width apart and arms are locked out.
2. Maintain a neutral back and neck, then slowly lean towards the wall by bending your elbow.
3. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you lower yourself and hold this forward position for 2-3 seconds.
4. Slowly straighten your arm and relax your shoulder blades. Repeat 10 times.
1. In a comfortable standing position, hold a light band in between both hands about shoulder-width apart.
2. Pull the band as wide as you can, then slowly bring the arms back to the starting position. Perform 3 sets of 10 reps.
1. Lie on your stomach on a bench or Swiss ball with a light dumbbell in each hand.
2. Straighten your arms so that the dumbbell is in front of your head.
3. Lift the dumbbells up, keeping your arms straight, to make a “Y” shape with your torso.
4. Slowly lower them down. Perform 3 sets of 10 reps.
1. Hold a very light dumbbell straight in front of you at approximately 45 degree angle.
2. Maintain this position for about 10 seconds.
3. Then, slowly lower the dumbbell to the side of your body. Perform 10 holds on each side.
BONUS: Watch this video to learn an extra exercise for the scapula muscles!