Shoulder Exercises

Best Scapular Dyskinesis Exercise

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Best scapular exercise

Best Scapular Dyskinesis Exercise

The Best Scapular Dyskinesis Exercise in our opinion is…drum roll…the Y-Lift.
Scapular Dyskinesia can be one factor that leads to subacromial pain and should thus be assessed and treated in order to improve shoulder function.
In order to assess Scapular Dyskinesia check out our article on the scapulohumeral rhythm.

If your patient experiences less pain with the scapular assistance test or the scapular retraction test

There is a good chance that he or she might benefit from Scapular exercises.
The Y lift is such a valuable exercise because it targets a lot of different areas like the upper and the lower trapezius which are both key muscles in creating lateral rotation of the Scapula. At the same time, it produces a high force in the supraspinatus tendon which is important in controlling the humeral head and at last, it promotes thoracic extension which is important for full shoulder range of motion.

To perform this exercise lie on the bench in prone position with the affected arm hanging over the edge of the table.
Then lift the arm up and out to raise it above your head with your thumb pointing upwards to ensure external rotation.

According to Ekstrom et al. (2003) and Reinold et al. (2007), an angle of 120 degrees provides the strongest contraction of the supraspinatus, and the lower and upper traps make sure to focus on a controlled eccentric movement.
Of course, this exercise can also be done with both arms simultaneously while you are in prone position on a swiss ball for example.


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Reinold MM, Macrina LC, Wilk KE, Fleisig GS, Dun S, Barrentine SW, Ellerbusch MT, Andrews JR. Electromyographic analysis of the supraspinatus and deltoid muscles during 3 common rehabilitation exercises. Journal of athletic training. 2007 Oct;42(4):464.

Ekstrom RA, Donatelli RA, Soderberg GL. Surface electromyographic analysis of exercises for the trapezius and serratus anterior muscles. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. 2003 May;33(5):247-58.

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