Have you got a “winging” shoulder blade? It may be due to a weak serratus anterior muscle. This muscle is the muscle you can often see on the ribs just below the arm (see pic below). It helps upwardly rotate the shoulder blade. If it is weak, it can increase the risk of “swimmers shoulder” and “impingement” (common pains & injuries). It is an issue often seen in swimmers, or those doing sport that uses a lot of overhead movement. It is also a very common problem for those sitting for prolonged periods, who can develop an upper rounded back, with constantly protacted shoulder blades.
The Exercise for Winging Shoulder Blade
This foam roller exercise (As in above video) is fantastic for winged shoulder blades & strengthening the serratus anterior muscle to help prevent soft tissue damage and injuries. Just follow these steps:
- Stand in a neutral spine position. Activate glutes (bottom muscles) gently to avoid pushing hips back
- Gently protract the shoulder blades (let them slide outward, away from each other) while keeping shoulders, elbows and wrists aligned (the elbows tend to move outwards, so try to avoid that!)
- Lengthen up through the crown of the head, avoid poking chin forward
- Draw shoulders downwards as you move the foam roller upwards
- As you roll upwards, think of pressing chest away from the wall
- Roll up as far as you can while maintaining proper form and stability
There are also other great videos and exercise advice from our physios on our instagram feed below.
Please remember that this is general advice. Please seek specific advice from a physio.