Scapular Retraction Training: Push-Up Hovers

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The bottom of a push-up can be a really challenging and effective position for strengthening scapular retraction. In this push-up hover exercise, I'm as close as I can get to my end range of shoulder blade retraction (without faceplanting on the floor) and relying heavily on scapular strength & endurance to maintain my position. Drifting forwards and backwards places an additional dynamic stability demand upon my shoulders as well. _ The kinesthetic and proprioceptive feedback of this motion/position in which your shoulders "sink" down into deep scapular retraction really helps with getting you into your true end range, something that can be difficult to achieve with traditional rowing or upper body pulling exercises for the back. This really calls upon you to deliberately produce a strong, isometric squeeze of your shoulder blades to hold your position. _ I love calisthenic, bodyweight-resisted exercises for the upper body because there can be many unique positional and loading demands on your shoulders that can have great rehabilitative value for the right patient. If this exercise proves to be too difficult, no need to hover for so long (break it up into reps of shorter duration) or take out the forward/backward drift. Swipe left to see a variation of this exercise in which you're repeatedly lowering yourself slowly and eccentrically into a deficit push-up with your arms elevated on each side of you.

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