Scapula (shoulder blade) stability progressions

Scapula (shoulder blade) stability progressions

Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

This is a great series of exercises, particularly if you have a shoulder or neck issue. Shoulder blade or scapula stability is a very important component of normal shoulder and neck function. Often neck and shoulder issues can arise because of poor scapulo-humeral rhythm. You generally need to train scapula stability before commencing any rotator cuff exercises. The  video below demonstrates how the roller can be used to enhance scapula stability from a beginner level with progressions through to advanced exercises.

Set Up:

  • in standing, with feet and knees hip width apart,
  • your low back in a neutral position, deep tummy contracted at a low level,
  • roller horizontally placed on a wall, at shoulder height or slightly lower,
  • place a single hand directly in front of your shoulder, at shoulder height or slightly lower, palm flat, on the roller, mid length,
  • keep your elbowed flexed.
scapula stabiltiy start


  1. lean your body weight, through your shoulder, arm and hand, gently into roller.
  2. Maintain your elbow flexion and deep tummy contraction, and then gently contract your shoulder blade muscle, down and back towards your spine,
  3. roll the roller up and down gently on the wall, about 5cm total distance, maintaining gentle shoulder blade contraction throughout,
  4. repeat for 30 seconds or to fatigue.
scapula stability progression


  • keep your upper neck muscles  relaxed,
  • stop if you feel them being activated and/or increase the amount of elbow flexion and/or stand closer to the wall and/or lower the roller on the wall.

Make It Harder:

  • move your body a little further away from the wall, so that you decrease the amount of elbow flexion,  until the elbow is straight. Then continue with small range roller oscillations for 30 seconds or to fatigue,
  • rise up onto toes, elbow extended, continue with small oscillations for 30 seconds or to fatigue,
  • lift the the same leg as the arm on the roller, from the hip, ( hip extension), off the floor a little, and continue with the small range roller oscillations for 30 seconds or to fatigue.