T Nation

Winged Scapula


Hey guys, wasn't sure if this is the right subforum for this, but figured its more a "fixing" thing so thought it would most appropriate here. Anyways, my scapula have always kinda stuck out, not too horribly, but definitely noticeable. I was under the impression that perhaps it was just normal, but after some research I guess its due to bad posturing and something with the serratus anterior? Anyways, is it something that can be fixed with exercises I can incorporate at the gym? (I already do shoulder and back work 2x a week, just curious if I might need something more extensive) Or am I going to need a more clinical approach to this issue?


Don't worry about winging worry about function. Do you have pain around the scapula? If not, it sounds like you may be inventing a problem to have.

There's plenty of methods to improve posture and plenty of exercises to improve scapular function. You may benefit from them, most people will imo, but don't pay attention to that winging shit. Pay attention to function.


No pain, I was just inquiring in case it warranted more than basic Rhomboid/Trap/Lat work.


Probably not an issue right now. But some exercises to help with winged scapula are:

Prone Trap raise or Scapations
Scapula Push ups
Cat and camel mobilizations


I was recently told that my left scapula is a bit winged. Interestingly enough, I've always slept on my left side. I fall asleep and stay there. It never occurred to me that sleeping in that position all night every night might be messing with my shoulders and back. Shoulders internally rotated, curled forward for 7 or 8 hours a night. I've been doing a lot of stretching through the chest and shoulders and I've finally trained myself to sleep on my back. I've seriously improved the internal rotation and tightness over the past month. I haven't had any injuries or functional problems, but I'm still in my first year. For me, it's just a matter of wanting to overcome some muscle imbalances and working on posture. I'm very bicep dominant and it's hard for me to activate my back, particularly my lats. Your sleep position could be part of the problem?


I have been hitting the rhomboid/trap area hard in my back training by first starting with rowing movements and throwing face pulls at the end of my back and rear delt workouts. One arm shrugs leaning over by the dumbbell rack at the end of my shoulder and sometimes back workouts and some push ups incorporated throughout the week whether or not they are a part of your chest and triceps routine.

Powerpuff I used to frequently sleep on my shoulder but Ive found that hammering my upper back hard in my back workouts has made it easier to sleep on my back as well.


The traps are much more of a diversified muscle group. While shrugs do work your upper traps and give you the yoked look. Low traps are what help retract the scapula with winging.

I concur that sleepiing on one's shoulder will induce all sort of shoulder issues and make for some bad issues later on. Silly as it may sound, I've found hugging a pillow or my having my woman lay againist me satisfies my need to sleep on my shoulder. Just a thought.


Yeah, I'm definitely a side sleeper, I'll try and work on fixing that and start adding in some of those to my routine. Appreciate the input.


Here's a picture of my back before I started lifting weights last spring. You can see the asymmetry a bit there with the shoulder blade on the left coming out a lot more than the right.


You have made some impressive development!!

I make no distinction because the winging will be less evident while flexed. If you want to avoid major traps then avoid shrugs. Let your upper trap work be indirect via upright rows, deadlifts, rows and the such.

When thinking of developement for shoulder and back health, think of lats as having similar actions as pecs. They medially rotate the arm so Don't focus on them for back and shoulder health.

As far as development, extra stretching for lats, machine pullovers before any other lat work has worked well for me. I'll try to throw up a rear lat spread in the next few days.


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Would you be willing to describe what type of programs you have been following? It is always helpful to show female clients specific examples where proper weight training has helped in so many ways without making you "bulky".


MSC and BBB -

Thanks for the encouragement! I haven't had anybody around today to take a picture of my back relaxed, but looking in the mirror the left shoulder blade looks slightly more sharp, but I don't think you could see it in a picture. Vast improvement. I've done a lot of stretching of my pecs and it may be something I'm going to have to keep at since we tend to revert back to old habits. I feel like I'm going around with my chest out all the time! Yeah, when trying to address these imbalances, focusing on releasing the opposing muscles seems to be key - tight pecs in my case.

Levelheaded -

There are a lot of more experienced lifters here who could give advice about programs and I don't want to threadjack this discussion away from Rawk who's trying to get advice about winged scapula. You could start a new thread over in powerful women and probably get lots of good input.

Just briefly, I've been a runner for many years. I started seeing women in mags like Oxygen or catalogs like Athleta and realized that those athletic but feminine women were lifting some heavy weights. LIGHT BULB! I decided to make body comp a priority and give weights a go.

I started with body weight stuff (elbow planks, push ups, lunges and squat variations, chin ups...) and use of some 20 pound dumbbells. Then I decided to get more serious and join a gym so I could access heavier weights. I spent the first couple of months using the Hoist machines and dumbbells before I finally got the nerve to head over to the squat rack and benches where all the big sweaty guys are. :slightly_smiling:

Just observing women at my gym, I think the biggest mistake they make is that they don't progress to lifting heavier. For example, they come in to the gym and do 20 reps of curls with some 10 pound dumbbells. They lift the same weight for a whole bunch of reps every time they come to the gym - basically turning it into an endurance exercise. NO progression to heavier weights. Then there are all the women who head straight for the cardio machines and completely avoid the weight floor - That was me. Here's the best part, I'm a petite 5'2" 112 pounds and I'm more hourglass-shaped and can eat more now than when I was running 5 miles a day. I'm reading Starting Strength and I'm learning all the fundamental lifts so I guess program wise I'm doing something like a Starting Strength thing on my bench, squat, and DLs, but going to more of a BB style on some of the accessories. I try to lift 5 days a week. No cardio, because I'm trying to keep some muscle on.

Now back to winged scapula - Sorry Rawk.


Completely agree with you powerpuff - not enough women lifting heavier, progressive weights. It is always good to give them a real life experience as an example of what they can achieve. They seem to respond more to that than just being told by a guy that they should lift heavier weights.


I think I love you.


[quote]JoabSonOfZeruiah wrote:

Joab - That's an awesome article. Thanks for the link!

Here's the Mt. Dog back one I referenced. Look at Stretchers video.

Edge - Feeling the love today. Nice.


Nice work Powerpuff. Really encouraging to see your progress.


From your pictures, in the one with your hands on your hips, it looks like your right shoulder is slightly elevated. It is probably due to the hand and body positioning. I wouldn't be overly concerned since in your next picture with the arms relaxed, the scapula look symmetrical. Great job on your progress!


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This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.