Importance of Scapular Stability

Why scapular stability is important

Your shoulder joint does not act in isolation to create movement in your arm. The muscles of your shoulder and scapula (shoulder blade) act together to create all movements of the arm. 

Often the importance of strengthening the muscles controlling the shoulder blade is forgotten. Having a strong, stable, and well moving scapula is important for all baseball, basketball, swimming, overhead lifting or any sport involving the arm. 


What is the scapula?

 The bone in red, is your scapula, more commonly called the shoulder blade. 

The bone in red, is your scapula, more commonly called the shoulder blade. 

The scapula, more commonly called the shoulder blade plays an important role in the overall function of the shoulder.

The scapula sits on the outside of the ribcage. It is attached to the ribcage by ligaments and muscles, called the scapula stabilizers. Many muscles attach onto the scapula, including the muscles of your rotator cuff. Your rotator cuff muscle group helps rotate your shoulder and securely hold your humerus (upper arm bone) into the shoulder socket.

Your scapula (shoulder blade) is highly mobile and can move in all directions. The muscles surrounding the scapula coordinate movement with your rotator cuff and assist in the movement of the shoulder.

 The scapula is able to move in many different planes of motion. Up and down, side to side, and upward and downward rotation. The movement of the scapula is coordinated with the movement of the shoulder. 

The scapula is able to move in many different planes of motion. Up and down, side to side, and upward and downward rotation. The movement of the scapula is coordinated with the movement of the shoulder. 


What is scapular stability?

The motion of the scapula is coordinated with the motion of the arm, and is called the scapulohumeral rhythm. The coordinated actions between the muscles around the shoulder joint that control the arm and the muscles that attach to the scapula (shoulder blade) is crucial for efficient arm movement and joint stability.

Injuries that occur at the shoulder can often be traced to poor function or a lack of strength in the muscles surrounding the scapula.

Therefore strength of the scapular stabilizer muscles is important.


Scapular stability is important for:

  • Overhead throwing motions
  • Lifting weight overhead
  • Proper position of the scapula and posture  

What muscles stabilize the scapula?

The main scapular stabilizer muscles include:

  • serratus anterior
  • rhomboids
  • levator scapulae
  • trapezius muscles

Check out the video below with our physiotherapist Jack to learn a few exercises to help improve the strength of the scapular stabilizer muscles. If you experience pain in your shoulder or would like to learn how to prevent injury of the shoulder joint. Book an appointment with our team below.


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