Left Serratus and Mid Trap Weakness

Having some problems getting my left scapula to retract and depress.

I’ve gone through all the Cressey/Robertson articles and getting soft tissue work done as well. I just can’t seem to get my mid/lower traps to fire properly despite all these corrective exercises (prone Y’s, wall slides, partial pulldowns).

It feels like on the left side, my inferior angle of scapula is caught outside the upper flap of my lat. I realize this sounds strange, but I’ve been trying to iron out this imbalance for two months now.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

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Chiraag Gangahar

First, from your profile it says you are 26 years old. Lets assume that you have been utilizing poor posture, muscle firing patterns, etc for at least 2 years (probably has been longer), it will take longer than 2 months to fix the problem. Don’t get discouraged, just keep at it and give it some time.

Second, have you had anybody evaluating your corrective exercise technique? If not, I would recommend finding somebody, preferably somebody who has a background in the corrective exercise field, to take a look and see if you are properly performing the exercises. With any corrective exercise, people will find a way to get the movement done, but may not be utilizing the proper firing patterns, muscle activation, etc. This happens a lot, especially with prone Y’s (people have the tendency to be upper trap dominant and shrug the movement up).

Third, what type of soft tissue work have you been doing? Just foam rolling/SMR? Anything professionally done - ART, Graston, ROLFing? If you feel like the scapula is getting caught in your lat, you probably have some heavy restrictions in that area that may require some more aggressive work done by a trained professional.

Best of luck. Keep at it and hope this helps.

Thank you for the suggestion. I will make the changes that you recommend.

For soft tissue work, I have been getting a deep tissue massage (with emphasis on shoulder musculature) every two weeks. Again, this has only been for about 2 months. Beyond that, tons of foam rolling (a total of about 3 hrs a week). For the last 2 weeks or so, I have been using a medicine ball to really dig deep into teres major, latissumus and pec major/minor.

You are correct in your comment about prone Y’s. I am very much upper trap dominant. Sometimes it takes me a good 20 minutes of stretching and massaging to even “turn off” the upper fibers.

Admittedly, going to a massage therapy school is the only thing within my budget right now. I will just start saving up to visit an ART professional who works with athletes/hard training individuals.

Appreciate your time. I will be more patient and persistent with this.



I was also having the same problem. Got my nerve conduction (long Thoracic & Suprascapular) tests (as suggested from my Ortho) done and it came out to be patial Long Thoracic Neuropathy. For me the option is surgery. I have yet to take a second opinion but I think nothing can done as of now.
It may not be the same with you (and I pray so) but just wud like to let you know…

Hi, I have had similar problems with this. Ask a friend to look at your shoulders, and you might find that you have depressed scapulas. The top of your scapula should be in line with C5, so thats an indication. If this is the case, get a litre or two litre bottle, and use it as a weight on one side.

pull shoulders back
externally rotate your arm holding the weight
lift that arm out to the side a couple of degress so that there is tension in your trap and your shoulder
shrug up a few inches, but not right up as far as you can go
hold for 10 seconds
repeat 6 times

do this twice a day, and you will teach the middle traps some muscle tension, which will elevate your scapula, allowing it to slide with your lats properly, and it should feel healthier after the first 2-3 days of doing it. If not, then you are probably not doing it right, or it is not the problem you ahve.

Thanks guys. After several wks of aggressive soft tissue work…and hours of stretching/corrective exercise…finally making some progress.

Appreciate the input. Best of luck to you all in your training.

Chiraag Gangahar