Holy shit this is driving me nuts.
This is everywhere right now and has gotten worse. And it’s done by a LOT of coaches and it’s flat out WRONG for most of the movements that is being taught with it.
“Locking the scapula down” i.e. putting it into retraction or depression in a movement and keeping it there.
Let’s talk about a few that way any of you guys reading this will STOP doing it.
Pulldowns or rows - putting it into depression (pulldowns) or retraction (rows) before you start the movement.
Do not do this. In a pulldown the scapula needs to move authentically with the humerus. That means you initiate the movement either by driving the humerus down (lats) or the elbows back (upperback).
When you move your arm from overhead down to your side like you do in a lats pulldown, you want your scapula to downwardly rotate and posterior tilt.
In both of these motions you want to have tension around the scapula but you want the scapula to downwardly rotate and anterior tilt as you start and end the exercise.
The scapula should go into depression/retraction naturally as the working muscles shorten.
Laterals - Lock the scapula into retraction or depression to “take the traps out”
This drives me f’n nuts. Eugene Teo made a video about this the other day where he’s coaching someone to do this AND IT’S WRONG. And can literally cause injury and create instability in the shoulder joint.
STOP TRYING TO INHIBIT THE UPPER TRAPS IN A LATERAL. The upper traps literally support the tension of the lateral delt during side laterals. The scapula needs authentic elevation during that movement and you can’t have that happen if you’re locking the scapula down.
This also goes for that shitty as fuck lying cable side lateral raise that is everywhere right now. It naturally locks the scapula down into depression. Sure…keep doing that if you want to permanently fuck your shoulders.
Instead think of this cue - push your arms out to your sides. Don’t initiate with your traps, but don’t try to “keep them out” of it. That’s dumb. Think more in terms of “more output” from the muscle you’re trying to work and not trying to inhibit the involvement of muscles that NEED to be involved.
Chest flyes or pressing -
Same shit. Some of the same people keep teaching this nonsense.
When you press or flye, you need the scapula to rotate around the ribcage for the pecs to fully shorten. That means you DO NOT hold the scapula in retraction when you press or flye. This literally keeps the pecs turned off, i,e, they cannot produce as much output for the movement because they can’t fully shorten.
“But people have said forever to “pack the shoulders””
And people are wrong. If you’re doing a powerlifting bench press then yes, you probably want to do that because you’re trying to limit the ROM. However it’s still going to end up fucking your shoulder over time.
You don’t go into protraction here, but you allow normal movement of the scapula to roll around the ribcage so that the pecs can shorten. Same for flyes or cable crossovers. You can literally test this on yourself right now…
Do a “crab pose”, i.e. most muscular. Now keep your shoulders pinned back into retraction. Can you fully contract your pecs??? Nope.
Now do it normally and allow your shoulders to roll forwards. What happens? Maximal pec contraction. The pec major runs over and inserts on your humerus. When you keep your scapula pinned back into retraction how is the humerus going to come forwards to allow for those muscles to fully shorten? It can’t. So don’t do this.
Stop doing this, guys. And stop following people who promote this nonsense.