Scapular Retraction

Scapular Retraction

Learn about the muscles that retractor your scapula & how it relates to training!

Scapular retraction is the action of pulling both scapula closer together (towards the spine). This action helps in posture & movement. In posture the ideal position of the scapula is partially retracted because it keeps our shoulders from hunching over & it keeps your mid to upper spine in its nature curvature. Retraction also puts our arms in an ideal position to move optimally & it plays an important role in raising our arms above our head.

What primary muscles retract the scapula?

  • Rhomboid Major/Minor, Middle Trapezius
Image result for rhomboids trapezius

So, how does this translate to the gym & athletics?

  • The scapula retracts during the concentric contraction of all back exercises such as rows & pull downs in addition to the eccentric or lowering phase of chest exercises such as flyes & bench press. We also retract it during barbell back squats & when finishing deadlifts. In terms of sport specific motions, the scapula retracts during the cocking phase of throwing a baseball or football & rowing.

What happens if you have weak scapular retractors?

  • The scapula can drift to the outside of our body away from the spine

Check out the optimal way to strengthen these retractors!


  • Neumann, Donald A. Kinesiology Of the Musculoskeletal System : Foundations for Physical Rehabilitation. 2016.

Featured Image By: HomeGymr

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