My Favorite After Typing Exercise: The Scap Slide

One of our goals going forward for spondyinfo.com is to create more and more great content in the form of blog posts, facebook posts, article links and youtube videos.

Personally, I want to share more posts where I explain what works in my personal battle against spondylolisthesis. Whether it be exercises, stretches, information, education or stories, I want to share with you my experiences hoping they will help you out in some way.

To meet these goals I have been spending more time than ever sitting behind a computer screen typing up posts and information. I am not a big fan of sitting for long periods mainly because of how it makes me feel. One of the main areas where excessive computer work affects me is my thoracic spine (t-spine) or upper back.

Like most people I have a tendency to hunch over or round my shoulders without knowing it during typing sessions.  This creates short tight muscles in my chest and stretched/weak muscles in my upper back area.  It is crucial to achieve optimal movement out of your thoracic spine to help in the battle against your spondylolisthesis or spondylolysis pain.

An  important thing to keep in mind with my personal posts is that everything that has worked for me will NOT work for you. Some info may help, some may not, but please do not assume since it has worked for me it will work for you. As always, please consult with your physician and review our disclaimer before attempting new forms of exercise.

Without proper t-spine movement, we may attempt to achieve movement with the lumbar spine (low back) which can lead to pain very quickly.  This is especially true for those who participate in rotational or overhead activities.  Personally, I have seen too many young athletes who play golf, baseball, and hockey who suffered from spondy’s and also suffer from very poor thoracic mobility.

All of the rotational movement that is created to achieve proper positioning in these sports is performed with the assistance of the t-spine.  Without the t-spine working properly, the low back and shoulders are at risk for injury.

Optimal strength and mobility in the t-spine is critical for those playing those sports and also for those suffering from spondy’s who want to live healthy, everyday lives. One of the simple yet effective exercises I do daily after a computer session is called the scap slide.

The scap slide focuses on the muscles of the scapular region located near the shoulder blades. This exercise helps to improve movement  in the areas that are affected by multiple hours behind the computer screen.

This exercise should be carefully performed (or avoided) by those who have had shoulder issues in the past. The exercise looks easy, but it can provide quite the challenge. 

 

The Scap Slide Exercise

 

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Scap Slide Start Position

1.  Start by standing with your back against the wall and your arms a little below 90 degrees. Think hard about NOT shrugging your shoulders, but instead try to “set” your shoulder blades by lightly squeezing them.  Your butt should also be touching the wall.

Your shoulders should be level.  If you can, face a mirror, you might be surprised at what you think level looks like. Muscle imbalances or past injuries may contribute to movement issues in your shoulder blades. Use a friend or family member if you don’t have a mirror to help you align properly.

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Incorrect Scap Slide Position (Side View)

2.  The important part of this exercise is to keep the back of your hands and forearms against the wall.  Do not let them leave at any time. Also pay close attention to your low back. You want to avoid the urge of hyper-extending your low back to compensate for tightness in the upper back (if you have any).

**Notice how in the picture above the wrist and forearms have left the wall. Avoid this by focusing on the forearms and KEEP THEM TOUCHING THE WALL**

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Scap Slide Finish Position (My finish position, yours may be different)

3.  Next, slowly slide your arms up the wall. The entire time you slide, keep your hands and forearms in contact with the wall while you maintain and think about “set” shoulder blades. You eventually will reach a sticking point as your arms slide up the wall.

When you feel yourself compensate or you cannot go any farther, slowly slide your arms back down to the starting position.

**On the way down you should get the feeling of tucking your shoulder blades into your back pocket.**

Again, this can be a difficult exercise for those with tight shoulders, tight pecs, or poor t-spine mobility and if you have past shoulder injuries you may want to skip this one.

Go slow and focus on perfect technique. You might feel a strong stretch in your upper back, shoulders and perhaps in your chest.

Perform this exercise for 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions.  You should count to 3 on the way up, then count to 3 on the way down.  Focus on the upper back the entire time (between the shoulder blades).

This simple exercise is one of my favorites to perform after long typing sessions. It helps to combat all of the negative things going on in my upper back in this hunched over position. Hopefully you will find it helpful as well. I would love to hear your comments and thoughts about one of my “go-to” exercises after long typing sessions. Please chime in below to let me know.

Also, if you would like to learn more helpful spondy exercises that you can perform in the comfort of your own help make sure to check out SpondyInfo.com’s Home Exercise program. We have gotten some fantastic reviews from readers who have used our home exercise program. You can learn more by clicking HERE.

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Leave A Reply (8 comments so far)


  1. tokkoo
    2 years ago

    great exercise!
    I have one question. Does your lower back touch the wall during the exercise?


    • SpondyInfo
      2 years ago

      Hi Tokkoo. Good question, your butt should be touching the wall along with your forearms and hands, but your back has the natural curve that keeps it a few inches from the wall. You should not however, compensate by hyperextending your low back (taking the back further from the wall). The only thing moving should be the arms, keep everything else in the starting position.

      Also, your feet should be a few inches away from the wall. Hope this helps!


  2. tokkoo
    2 years ago

    thank you a lot for the answer


    • SpondyInfo
      2 years ago

      No problem Tokkoo!


  3. Lisa michelson
    2 years ago

    I am so tight in my upper back that I can not even get the backs of my arms to touch.. Any variations or excercise to open the chest up


    • SpondyInfo
      2 years ago

      Hi Lisa. You explain a common issue with so many. Tight chest, shoulders, and even upper back muscles can lead to the issue you are explaining. Today’s society really does not help. Think hunching over at a computer desk, hunching over to read, hunching over to text, etc. All of these activities that we spend so much time doing lead to the weaknesses I explained above. One variation we did do when I was working with so many clients was to use gravity as your friend. In the above exercise standing up uses gravity to help you with the exercise, but if you are tight like you explained this can be challenging. The regression we made was to place the client on the ground and to use a long foam roll (they sell half foam rolls that work the best to start and then you can progress to a whole foam roll) to lay up. The client places their back on the foam roll and then goes through the movement this way. For those that are super tight we would just have them lay on the foam roll (head resting on the top of the foam roll) on focus on breathing with their arms at 90 degrees. In the long run – I can make a video for this, but for now I would suggest searching youtube and making sure you are cleared for such activities. Here is a link to get you started: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ub8eWFvDNuc

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