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Best Exercises for Scapular Region

  • Published: 2010-12-16 (Revised/Updated 2013-06-12) : Author: Jon Doyle
  • Synopsis: The scapular region is extremely important for athletes across a variety of sports and disciplines.

Quote: "For the best workout for your scapular region, you need to learn how to target the muscle groups in the right way."

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The scapular region is extremely important for athletes across a variety of sports and disciplines, but nowhere is it more important than it is for baseball pitchers.

Your scapular region or shoulder blades are connected to a huge selection of muscles, including your lats, rhomboids, the teres minor and major muscles, a variety of other muscles on the upper body and arms, and perhaps most importantly for pitchers, the rotator cuff muscles.

For the best workout for your scapular region, you need to learn how to target the muscle groups in the right way. Too much weight or the wrong kinds of exercises or equipment can directly lead to injury or a drop off in performance. But with the right moves and knowledge on your side, you can fortify all of those muscle groups, make yourself much more protected from injuries, and improve your stamina, velocity and more.

Before getting into a few of the specific exercises and movements that you can utilize, it's important to take a quick minute to discuss the way that you should perform some of these exercises. Ideally, you should be utilizing dumbbells, real weightlifting bands as opposed to the colored tubing you'll find some people using, kettle-bells, or barbells with only one hand, in which case you can use lighter barbells as opposed to the 45 lb Olympic sized ones.

The point is that you want to be isolating each arm and side of your body during the direction, forcing them to work harder, and trying to even out your body strength. It's always natural for a pitcher to be more developed on his throwing side, but working out in this way will give you more balance, more overall body strength, and will help to prevent injuries as well.

One of the best exercises for the scapular region is actually the classic dead-lift and all of its variations. This is a total body exercise, but many people don't realize that in the process of holding up and supporting all of that weight, that you target the upper back and shoulder muscles as well. It's an all-purpose strengthening exercise that hits both major and minor muscle groups.

Another classic exercise that you can utilize for your scapular region is the bent over row. These are especially great for your lats and rhomboids, and the other muscles in your middle back. Focus on squeezing with your shoulder blades as you pull the weight up as opposed to pulling the weight with your forearms or biceps.

Two more great exercises will be the power snatch and the muscle snatch.

Most people are familiar with the power snatch, but not everyone realizes how it's different from the muscle snatch. The muscle snatch is great with dumbbells, bands or light barbells, and it's essentially an upright row that is rotated upwards and above your head until your arms are straight. At first glance it might look like a clean and press, but don't confuse the two.

Besides the above, there are two overlooked movements that can be great additions to your workout. The first is the face pull, which can be performed with cables or bands. With your arms extended straight in front of your body, pull the bands towards the middle of your face before rotating your arms to each side of your head as if you were making a big "U" with them.

The other is the Cuban press, which begins with an upright row move until your arms and body form a kind of "T" position. From there, rotate the weights in front of your body and then above your shoulders, before pressing the weights overhead and lowering them to the starting "T" position.

With all of these movements on your side, you should be able to target your scapular region and all of the muscle groups involved with them excellently. By focusing on the usage of bands and dumbbells, or by utilizing kettle-bells and single-arm barbell motions, you will be helping to eliminate inequalities between the sides of your body, while improving total body strength and conditioning. Most importantly of all, by working out in this way you will be preventing injuries and improving your performance at the same time.

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