Scapular Muscles

Scapular Muscles

I have had a question about what the scapular muscles are so let me take a minute to explain what they are.

What are the scapular muscles?

These are all the muscles that connect and attach to the scapula (shoulder blade).

These muscle are very important for shoulder health and often ignored when it comes to an exercise program or the recovery of a shoulder injury.

What are the names of the scapular muscles?

There are 16 primary scapular muscles that connect to the shoulder blade:

  1. Pectoralis minor
  2. Coracobrachialis
  3. Serratus anterior
  4. Triceps brachii
  5. Biceps brachii
  6. Subscapularis
  7. Rhomboids major
  8. Rhomboids minor
  9. Levator scapulae
  10. Trapezius
  11. Deltoid
  12. Supraspinatus
  13. Infraspinatus
  14. Teres Minor
  15. Teres Major
  16. Latissimus Dorsi

As you can see there are a lot of muscles that have an effect on the scapula.

What do these scapular muscles do to the scapula?

The scapular muscles have two main functions.

  1. Holds the shoulder blade in place.
  2. Moves the shoulder blade.

They do all this to give the shoulder great movement and also to keep the rotator cuff in the best position possible.

If the scapular muscles are weak, there is less movement in the shoulder and great risk of shoulder injury.

What movements do scapular muscles do?

The main 6 movements that scapular muscles perform are:

  1. elevate
  2. depress
  3. protract
  4. retract
  5. upwardly rotate
  6. downwardly rotate

These are not all the movements that the scapula can do but they are the primary ones.  I will cover the other movements in another article.

Why are the scapular muscles so important?

The scapular muscles work with the rotator cuff and large shoulder muscles to move the shoulder, perform tasks that you ask and prevent injury.

The weakest set of muscles in the shoulder are the scapular muscles.  It is important to train them in order to prevent injury and help with injury recovery.

What is an example of a good exercise program for the scapular muscles?

A great exercise for the scapular muscles is the scapular clock.

Scapular muscles are often ignored with a shoulder injury.

It is important if you have a shoulder injury that you work on the scapular muscles.  Having strong scapular muscles is one of the keys of overcoming a shoulder injury.

This includes rotator cuff, shoulder dislocation, shoulder impingement, AC joint injuries.

If you are looking for an exercise program that helps with the scapular muscles, check this out:

Rick Kaselj, MS