1: There’s Not Just One Ideal Scapula Position

The huge mobility of the shoulder joint needs to be used and it needs to be controlled. If you’re not being diligent in using it, you’ll lose it.

Frozen movement in the upper back and shoulders can really limit your movement. If you’re looking to improve gymnastic movements or build bodyweight strength, you need access to the complete, unrestricted range of the scapula.

For example, you can’t do a good pull-up if you can’t move your scap. As you improve mobility and control, you’ll find that these carry over to the pull-up, however.

Move the scap in every direction. This means you’re not just locking down and back (something you’ll have problems with if you’ve been following traditions in weigh training), but also that you’re not just rolling forwards.

The point is to train all 4 of the key movements: depression (like the scap pull up),

2.    You need to focus on moving the scap in exercises

The way you move the scapula during bodyweight movements is key to your results. If you’re not engaging the scap, you’re going to see reduced overall muscle development and a much harder time progressing.

There’s an art to fine control in the scapula during exercise. For example, a pull-up should begin with movement in the shoulder blades and they should be engaged throughout the whole movement.

You can train this exact type of movement with a scap pull-up.

This is also applicable in pressing movements – it’s a universal skill that you need to develop.

Consider using push ups with a plus, hollow push-ups, or simply combining your strength exercises with some control drills to improve your overall mobility and control.

3.    Posture: adding up the scap and T-spine

The scap isn’t just about rows and pull ups and push ups. It’s a fundamental part of your overall posture and it is closely tied into the position of the upper back.

This means that – as well as improving your posture through training the upper back – you can improve the strength and position of the upper back through postural exercise.

Weight training exercises like the good morning or front squat can reinforce challenging positions and strengthen these muscles. Alternatively, exercises like the back extension should focus on an extended thoracic spine (upper back) at the same time as strengthening retraction and depression of the shoulder blades.

 

4.    Do it right

The point of building control isn’t just for making your movements look pretty: it’s a way of developing strength and muscle mass more effectively.

Moving better isn’t just a result of the way you train the scapula – it’s also a way of reinforcing good habits and training these muscles and movements. Doing movements like the pull up correctly provides a way of reinforcing good control and strength.

You might need to really focus on these changes in the start, but over time they will become second nature as you realise how important they are to all your movements. Once you’re doing it right, you’ll be building consistency, shoulder health, and habits that bring better results.

Investing your time now is a way of making life and training easier in future!

Control of the scapula region underlies all the changes and skills you’re trying to develop with gymnastics and bodyweight training. It’s at the core of your shoulder health and it provides a platform for advanced skills.

Put time and effort into these details, and your training will reflect their importance as better progress!