Strengthen Scapular Retractors

Strengthen Scapular Retractors

Got weak scapular retractors? Here’s the best way to fix them!

There are 2 primary muscles that retract the scapula: Rhomboid Major/Minor & Middle Trapezius. These 2 muscles help accomplish the same goal, but they are not identical. The Middle Trapezius is the ideal scapula retractor because of the perpendicular alignment of the muscle fibers to the inside border of the scapula. However, the Rhomboids alignment results in a slight downward rotation of the scapula in addition to the retraction. This slight difference has an effect on how we can activate each muscle optimally in order to strengthen it.

  • What is the optimal way to strengthen the Middle Trapezius?

    • 90° shoulder abduction with 180° elbow extension & shoulder external rotation (see video above)
  • What is the optimal way to strengthen the Rhomboids?

    • Rowing with thumb pointing up & elbow flexed 90°

We can use these specific exercises in order to target each muscle in order to ensure that our scapular retractors are not only strong but also balanced. This will result in optimal performance & minimal injuries!


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