Whether you’re brushing your hair, reaching for something on a high shelf, lifting your children, or swinging a tennis racket, your shoulders are the workhorses that make these daily tasks possible.

Considering the crucial role shoulders play in our lives, it’s imperative to keep both your shoulder joints and muscles in tip-top shape. This is where dumbbell scaptionss come in.

Not only is this exercise considered one of the most effective exercises to increase shoulder definition, but it’s also excellent at strengthening your shoulder joints, reducing your chances of injury, and increasing shoulder stabilization.

“Shoulder injuries are one of the most common injuries in weight lifting,” explains Carrie Andrade, certified personal trainer with a degree in exercise science, and owner of Elite Training & Fitness in Port Charlotte, FL. And if you’ve experienced a shoulder injury, you know firsthand how limited your daily tasks become.

While this move is important for male lifters as well, women tend to have weaker shoulders placing Scaptions at the top of the list when it comes to upper body training; especially if injury prevention is the goal.

Here, Andrade gives us a closer look at this must-do move and how you can benefit from adding it to your workout routine.

Scaptions: The Move

This shoulder-strengthening move consists of raising your arms from your sides (similar to a lateral raise) and slightly forward. During the scaption exercise, your shoulder blades move to the center of the spine, opening your chest and strengthening both your shoulders and upper back.


How Scaptions Elevate Your Shoulder Health and Strength

“Scaptions are a specific exercise that targets the serratus anterior, trapezius, deltoids, and rotator cuff,” explains Andrade, who calls the shoulder the “hub” for almost every compound upper body exercise. “This is why it’s very important to first assess this area at the beginning of any exercise program.”

With that, let’s take a close look at what this mighty move does for your shoulder health.

“By adding scaptions to your fitness routine, weightlifters benefit by strengthening their rotator cuff which will in turn allow them to lift more weight in almost every upper body exercise.” This goes for males and females alike.

Strong rotator cuffs create stability and healthy movement in your shoulders, preventing injuries and providing strength in the deltoid area supporting all overhead movements. (Good news for those who favor the overhead press).

Not only do scaptions create a stronger shoulder unit allowing you to lift heavier, but they help detect areas of weakness. “Scaptions, in particular, can help pinpoint any issues that may be present in the shoulder,” says Andrade.

Creating stability and improving posture is something that Andrade feels should be a focus in all programs. There’s more to training than throwing a bunch of weights around, but rather building a strong body from the inside out – Scaptions do just that.

Ready to get to work? Here’s how to perform a scaption.

How to Perform Scaptions

Tip: Be sure to focus on form, moving slowly which can help increase the mind-body connection.

  1. Stand in good posture with a dumbbell in each hand and arms at your side, palms facing in.
  2. Brace your abdominals to support your spine as you lift the dumbbells at an angle in front of you at about a 30 to 45-degree angle from your side.
  3. The dumbbells should raise slightly above the height of your shoulders.
  4. Lower the weights controlled back down to your side.

Who Should Avoid Scaptions?

Although this exercise is great for beginners and those looking to improve movement and stability, “It should be avoided if it specifically causes any pain or if you have any current injuries in the rotator cuff or deltoid,” informs Andrade. If you have experienced an injury or have had surgery, Andrade recommends consulting a medical professional for clearance after any injuries or surgeries.

Andrades Final Thoughts

Building a strong foundation is imperative in all weight training programs. Making sure we include the fundamentals and small micro-movements can and will make a huge difference in your overall performance.