The scapulae (shoulder blades) are very mobile and have no attachment to the ribs and spine, and sit on the ribcage at the back. They have multiple movement patterns, and are an anchor for the arms and provide support for the neck and cervical spine. It is important to stabilise the muscles around the scapulae (serratus anterior, latissimus dorsi, rhomboids and trapezius muscles) so that the muscles around the neck and shoulders are not overworked, causing tension and rigidity. Any weakness in these muscles can affect how the shoulder joint performs.
Pilates movements and exercises that can help with scapular stability, include;
- Breast Stroke - retraction - gliding the scapulae together like suction caps
- Spine Twist - ensure movement comes from the abdominals - not the shoulders - a 'line of scaption' where you can see your arms in your peripheral vision should occur throughout the exercise
- Rolling Like a Ball - retraction - keeping space between the ears and shoulders while moving