Fix Rounded Back Posture

How To Do Scapular Retraction Exercise and Fix Computer Back!

How To Do Scapular Retraction Exercise and Fix Computer Back!

Building a strong upper back is essential for maintaining good posture and overall functionality. One highly effective exercise for achieving this is scapular retractions. This movement specifically targets the muscles of the upper back, enhancing posture, stability, and muscular balance.

By regularly incorporating scapular retractions into your fitness routine, you can strengthen the muscles that support proper posture and counteract the forward rounding that often results from hours spent at a computer, commonly known as “computer back.” In this article, I will share the benefits, techniques, and key considerations of the scapular retraction exercise, giving you the specifics on how to fix computer back and achieve excellent upper body strength and posture.

How To Do Scapular Retraction Exercise

To perform the scapular retraction exercise correctly, follow these steps:

  1. Starting Position:
    • Stand or sit with your back straight and your feet shoulder-width apart. You can also perform this exercise while lying face down on an exercise bench.
    • Let your arms hang naturally by your sides.
  2. Engage Core:
    • Slightly tighten your abdominal muscles to maintain a stable core throughout the movement.
  3. Retract Scapulae:
    • Pull your shoulder blades back and down towards your spine. Imagine trying to squeeze a pencil between your shoulder blades.
    • Avoid shrugging your shoulders up towards your ears. Focus on the downward and inward motion.
  4. Hold the Position:
    • Hold the retracted position for 2-3 seconds, feeling the contraction in your upper back muscles.
  5. Release:
    • Slowly release the tension, allowing your shoulder blades to return to the starting position.
  6. Repeat:
    • Perform 10-15 repetitions per set.
    • Aim for 2-3 sets, depending on your fitness level and goals.
Scapular Retraction Exercise
If you want to fix computer back, engaging the upper back muscles will help!
Scapular Retractions for Computer Back
Scapular Retractions really can help fix your posture and computer back!

Tips for Proper Form to help fix computer back and posture:

  • Controlled Movements: Perform the exercise with slow and controlled movements to maximize muscle engagement and prevent injury.
  • Breathing: Inhale as you retract your scapulae and exhale as you release.
  • Avoid Overextension: Ensure you are not arching your lower back or thrusting your chest forward excessively during the movement.
  • Use Resistance: To increase the challenge, you can use a resistance band, dumbbells, or a cable machine. Hold the resistance with both hands, keeping your elbows slightly bent as you perform the retraction.


  • Prone Scapular Retractions: Lie face down on a bench with your arms hanging towards the floor, and perform the retractions.
  • Wall Angels: Stand with your back against a wall, raise your arms to a 90-degree angle, and perform the retractions while keeping your arms in contact with the wall.
Fix Rounded Back Posture
Fix Rounded Back Posture

What is the purpose of scapular retraction exercises?

Scapular retraction exercises serve multiple crucial purposes in a well-rounded fitness routine. Primarily, they strengthen the muscles of the upper back, including the rhomboids and middle trapezius, which are essential for maintaining proper posture. By enhancing these muscles, scapular retractions help counteract the effects of prolonged sitting and poor posture, reducing the risk of rounded shoulders and upper back pain. Additionally, these exercises improve shoulder stability and mobility, which is vital for performing a wide range of upper body movements safely and effectively. Incorporating scapular retraction exercises into your routine can lead to better alignment, decreased risk of injury, and overall improved upper body strength and functionality.

Why do physical Therapists recommend scapular retractions?

Physical therapists frequently recommend scapular retractions due to their numerous benefits in improving musculoskeletal health and overall function. Here are some key reasons:

  1. Improves Posture: Scapular retractions help strengthen the upper back muscles, particularly the rhomboids and trapezius, which are essential for maintaining good posture. This exercise can correct forward shoulder posture, which is common in individuals who spend long hours sitting or working at a desk.
  2. Enhances Shoulder Stability: By targeting the muscles around the scapula, scapular retractions promote better shoulder stability. This is crucial for preventing shoulder injuries and enhancing the performance of various upper body movements.
  3. Reduces Neck and Back Pain: Strengthening the upper back can alleviate discomfort and pain associated with poor posture and muscular imbalances. Scapular retractions can help relieve tension in the neck and upper back, which is often caused by prolonged periods of poor posture.
  4. Supports Rehabilitation: For individuals recovering from shoulder injuries or surgeries, scapular retractions are a low-impact exercise that aids in the gradual rebuilding of strength and mobility in the shoulder girdle. This exercise is often part of a comprehensive rehabilitation program.
  5. Prevents Injury: Regularly performing scapular retractions can prevent common injuries related to the shoulders and upper back. By reinforcing these muscles, individuals can better withstand the demands of daily activities and athletic endeavors.
  6. Enhances Athletic Performance: For athletes, scapular retractions can improve the efficiency of movements that require strong and stable shoulders, such as throwing, lifting, and various overhead activities. This exercise contributes to overall athletic performance by ensuring the upper back and shoulders function optimally.

What Is Computer Back?

“Computer back” is a term used to describe the postural issues and discomfort that result from prolonged periods of sitting and working at a computer. This condition is characterized by several distinct features:

  1. Forward Head Posture: The head juts forward, putting strain on the neck and upper back muscles.
  2. Rounded Shoulders: The shoulders slump forward, leading to tightness in the chest muscles and weakness in the upper back muscles.
  3. Upper Back Kyphosis: An exaggerated curve in the upper back, often accompanied by a hunched appearance.
  4. Neck and Shoulder Pain: Due to the unnatural positioning, individuals may experience chronic pain and stiffness in the neck and shoulders.
  5. Lower Back Pain: Sitting for long periods can lead to poor posture, which can cause lower back pain due to inadequate support and muscle weakness.

Causes of Computer Back:

  • Prolonged Sitting: Spending extended hours sitting at a desk without regular breaks.
  • Improper Ergonomics: Poor workstation setup, such as a monitor that is too low or a chair that does not support proper posture.
  • Lack of Movement: Minimal physical activity throughout the day, leading to muscle stiffness and weakness.

Preventing and Addressing Computer Back:

  • Ergonomic Adjustments: Ensure your workstation is set up correctly, with the monitor at eye level, feet flat on the floor, and a chair that supports the natural curve of your spine.
  • Regular Breaks: Take frequent breaks to stand, stretch, and move around to alleviate muscle tension and improve circulation.
  • Strengthening Exercises: Incorporate exercises such as scapular retractions to strengthen the upper back muscles, improving posture and reducing the strain on the neck and shoulders.

By understanding and addressing the causes of computer back, individuals can take proactive steps to improve their posture, reduce discomfort, and maintain better overall health while working at a computer.

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