Serratus Anterior Exercises for Winged Scapula

winged scapula

What is a Winged Scapula?

A Winged Scapula (also known as Scapula Alata) is when the medial (inner) border of the shoulder blade protrudes off the rib cage.

(Ideally – it should sit completely flat!)

A Winged Scapula can be observed in:

  • Normal resting posture (static) and/or
  • Certain shoulder movements (dynamic).

The content presented on this blog post is not medical advice and should not be treated as such. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Use of the content provided on this blog post is at your sole risk.

For more information: Medical disclaimer

Why you should address it

A Winged Scapula may lead to:

What causes winging of the Scapula?

The exercises that you will need to do will depend on what is causing your winged scapula in the first place.

1. Pectoralis Minor tightness/over-activity

A tight/overactive Pectoralis Minor (along side a tight levator scapulae and short head biceps) can pull the inner border of the shoulder blade off the rib cage.

Serratus Anterior weakness/inhibition

location of serratus anterior 

The Serratus Anterior is the primary muscle that anchors the scapula flat onto the rib cage.

It attaches onto the under surface of the shoulder blade and to the side of the rib cage.

If you do not have strength and/or control of this very important muscle, it can lead to scapular winging.

(This whole blog post will be going through a range of different Serratus Anterior Exercises)

3. Long Thoracic Nerve palsy

The Long Thoracic Nerve (which originates in the neck) supplies the Serratus Anterior muscle.

If there are any issues with this nerve, it may result in the inability to contract the Serratus Anterior.

Without this muscle activating, it will be difficult to stabilize the scapula on the rib cage.

Other nerves (when damaged) that can result in scapular winging include the:

  • Dorsal scapular nerve and
  • Spinal accessory nerve.

My recommendation: Get EMG testing of the nerve to see if there are any issues with the electrical signals.

4. Flat thoracic spine

The shoulder blade and rib cage have a matching curved shape. (Concave-Convex relationship)

If the upper back is flat, it can result in the mismatch between the surfaces.

This will prevent the shoulder blade from conforming to the shape of the rib cage. (… no matter how many Serratus Anterior exercises that you do!)

For more information: Exercises for a flat thoracic spine.

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How do you know if you have Winged Scapula?

a) Static test 


  • Stand with a relaxed posture.
  • Keep your arms by your sides.
  • Get someone to take a photo of your back.
  • Observe the scapula region.

Results: Does your shoulder blade stick out?

If you can see a definite protrusion of the medial border of the shoulder blade, then you have Scapular Winging.

b) Dynamic test


  • Take a video of yourself performing a:
    • Push up against the wall
    • Raising/lowering your arms or
    • Pulling motion.
  • Observe the position of the scapula during movement.

Results: If there is a protrusion of the medial border during the movement, then you have Scapular Winging.

Serratus Anterior Exercises for Winged Scapula

back of shoulder picture

NoteThe Serratus Anterior exercises for a Winged Scapula are designed to be gentle and pain-free.

 1. Release the pec minor

pec minor release for winged scapula


  • Place a massage ball directly underneath of your Pec Minor.
    • To locate your Pec minor, check it out on Google.
  • Apply your body weight onto the massage ball.
  • Proceed to perform a circular motion over the ball.
  • Make sure to cover the entire muscle
  • Duration: 1-2 minutes

2. Stretches

a) Levator Scapula

levator scapulae stretch for scapular winging


  • Hold onto a stationary object at hip level.
    • (You can also use a stretch or resistance band if you have one.)
  • Lean away from that hand to lock the shoulder blade down.
  • Tilt your head towards the opposite arm pit.
    • To increase stretch: Pull the side of your head further using your other hand.
  • Aim to feel a stretch between your neck and shoulder blade.
  • Hold for at least 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 times.

c) Pec Minor

pec minor stretch


  • Place your hands high up on a door frame. (see above)
  • Tilt your shoulder blades backwards.
  • Lunge forwards.
  • Aim to feel a stretch in the chest area.
    • Make sure that you do not arch your lower back as you push into the wall.
    • Do not let your ribs flare outwards.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 times.

c) Front shoulder stretch

short head bicep stretch


  • With both hands on a bench behind you, let your body sink down as low as possible. (see above)
  • Keep your shoulder blades tilted backwards.
  • Keep your elbows in.
    • Don’t let them flare out.
  • Do not let your shoulders tip forwards.
  • You should feel a stretch at the front of your shoulders.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 times.

3. Activate the Serratus anterior

The main function of the Serratus Anterior is to keep your shoulder blade flat onto your rib cage!

This is the most important part of the blog post: It is VITAL that you know how to activate and feel the Serratus Anterior muscle working.

Activating the Serratus Anterior:

serratus anterior exercises


  • Assume the wall plank position.
  • Activate the Serratus Anterior:
    • Tilt the shoulder blades BACKWARDS.
    • Pull your shoulder blades DOWN and AROUND the ribs.
    • Keep your shoulders long and wide.
  • Keep your neck completely relaxed. (Don’t shrug!)
  • Push your forearms into the wall.
  • Aim to feel the contraction in the lower and side region of the scapula.
    • If you can’t feel the contraction, round your back as you push your forearms into the wall.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 5 times.
  • Progression: Whilst maintaining the activation of the Serratus Anterior, slide your forearms up/down the wall.

Once you understand exactly how to ENGAGE this special muscle, let’s get started with the Serratus Anterior exercises!

“Mark! How do I strengthen my Serratus Anterior?”

Check out the following exercises!

Note: The exercises are arranged in order of difficulty. Aim to progress to the next level only when you are ready.

Level 1: Isolate the Serratus anterior

a) Rock back

serratus anterior exercise on the floor


  • Assume the plank position with your knees on the floor.
  • Activate the Serratus Anterior.
  • Push your forearms into the floor.
  • Rock your body backwards as far back as possible.
  • Make sure you can feel the Serratus Anterior engaging throughout the exercise.
  • Return to starting position.
  • Repeat 30 times.

b) Push up plus (against the wall)

serratus anterior exercise on wall


  • Assume the push up position on the wall with your arms straightened.
  • Activate the Serratus Anterior.
  • Push your hands into the wall.
  • Whilst keeping your arms completely straight, proceed to protract your shoulder blades.
    • Think of your shoulder blades gliding down and around.
  • Hold this end position for 5 seconds.
  • Make sure you can feel the Serratus Anterior engaging throughout the exercise.
  • Slowly retract your shoulder blades back to the starting neutral position.
  • Repeat 30 times.

c) Push up plus (plank position)

wall plank serratus anterior


  • Assume the plank position on the wall. (see above)
  • Activate the Serratus Anterior.
  • Push your forearms into the wall.
  • Whilst keeping your forearms on the wall, proceed to protract your shoulder blades.
    • Think of your shoulder blades gliding down and around.
  • Hold this end position for 5 seconds.
  • Make sure you can feel the Serratus Anterior engaging throughout the exercise.
  • Retract shoulder blades back to the starting neutral position
  • Repeat 30 times.

Level 2: Serratus anterior Exercises (+ Resistance)

d) Push up plus (with resistance band)

resistance band exercises for protraction


  • Hold onto a resistance band as shown above.
    • (Make sure you choose a resistance you can handle.)
  • Assume the above position on the wall with your arms straightened.
  • Activate the Serratus Anterior.
  • Whilst keeping your arms completely straight, proceed to protract your shoulder blades.
  • Hold this end position for 5 seconds.
  • Make sure you can feel the Serratus Anterior engaging throughout the exercise.
  • Retract the shoulder blades back to the starting neutral position
  • Repeat 30 times.

e) Protraction in lying

scapular winging exercises


  • Lie on your back with your knees bent.
  • Whilst holding onto a weight, lock your arms straight in front of you.
    • Use a weight that you are able to control properly.
  • Activate the Serratus Anterior.
  • Push the weight up towards the sky whilst keeping the arm completely straight.
  • Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Make sure you can feel the Serratus Anterior engaging throughout the exercise.
  • Return to starting position.
  • Repeat 30 times.
  • Progression: Whilst holding the arm in the same vertical position as seen above, roll your body to the side. Repeat 15 times.

Level 3: Serratus anterior activation (+ Shoulder movement)

f) Push up

wall push up serratus anterior exercise


  • Assume a push up position on the wall.
  • Activate the Serratus anterior THROUGHOUT movement.
  • Perform a push up.
  • Keep your shoulders wide and long.
  • Repeat 30 times.

g) Wall slides (with resistance band)

wall slides


  • Hold onto a resistance band. (see above)
    • Use a resistance that is appropriate for you.
  • Assume the wall plank position.
  • Activate the Serratus Anterior THROUGHOUT movement.
  • Slide your forearms up/down the wall.
    • Maintain the pressure on the wall through the forearms
  • Repeat 15 times.

h) 1 arm pivot


  • Assume the wall plank position.
  • Activate the Serratus Anterior muscle.
  • Push the forearm (on the side of the Winged scapula) into the wall.
    • Maintain this pressure throughout the exercise.
  • Whilst keep that arm fixated on the wall, rotate your body away.
  • Return to starting position.
  • Repeat 15 times.

i) Arm raises (with resistance band)

fix winged scapula


  • Hold onto a resistance band. (as shown above)
  • Activate the Serratus Anterior THROUGHOUT movement.
  • When raising your hand – Try to push your hands as far away from the body whilst keeping your shoulder blades back, down and around throughout movement.
  • Raise and lower your arms from your side.
  • Repeat 15 times.

Level 4: Weight bear (Both arms)

j) Plank

plank exercise with serratus anterior


  • Assume the plank position on the floor. (see above)
  • Activate the Serratus Anterior muscle.
  • Push the forearms into the floor.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds.
  • Do NOT let your shoulder blades cave in.
  • Note: If you are unable to maintain a good position of your shoulder blade, you can do this exercise on your knees instead.

k) Push up


  • Assume the push up position on the floor. (see above)
  • Activate the Serratus Anterior muscle THROUGHOUT movement.
  • Perform a push up.
  • Do NOT let your shoulder blades cave in.
    • Keep the shoulder wide and long!
  • Repeat 10 times.

Level 5: Weight bear (Single arm)

m) Straight arm plank (with pivot)

straight arm plank with pivot


  • Assume the straight arm plank position.
  • Activate the Serratus Anterior muscle THROUGHOUT exercise.
  • Lean your weight into the hand that is on the side of the scapula winging.
  • Whilst keep that arm fixated on the floor, slowly rotate your body away. (see above)
  • Return to starting position.
  • Repeat 10 times.
  • Progression: Go slower

l) Plank (with pivot)

  • Assume the plank position on the floor.
  • Activate the Serratus Anterior muscle.
  • Push the forearm (on the side you are targeting) into the floor.
    • Maintain this pressure throughout the exercise.
  • Rotate your body away as you lift your other forearm off the floor.
  • Return to starting position.
  • Repeat 15 times.

How to position the shoulders

correct shoulder position


1. Serratus Anterior activation: 

  • Reach and stretch out your hands as far to opposite sides as possible. (see above)
  • Keep your shoulders wide and long.

2. Retraction:

  • Bring your arms slightly backwards.
  • Aim to feel a gentle contraction between your shoulder blades.
  • (Do NOT over squeeze your shoulders back together.)

3. Posterior Tilt:

  • Rotate your arms backwards as far as you can so that your thumbs are almost pointing towards the floor.

4. Final step: Take note of your shoulder position.

Keep this position!

… And gently lower your arms by your side.

Other areas to address

If you have persisted with these Serratus Anterior exercises and still have a winged scapula, you may need to also address the position of the rib cage.

This is influenced by the following:

a) Scoliosis

scoliosis winged scapula

Scoliosis refers to the lateral curvature that occurs in the thoracic and/or lumbar spine.

This can affect the shape of the rib cage on which the scapula sits on.

For more information: Scoliosis Exercises

b) Flat Thoracic Spine

A flat thoracic spine (loss of natural kyphotic curve) can make the back of the rib cage flat as well.

This will affect how the shoulder blade sits on the rib cage,

For more information: Flat thoracic spine exercises

What to do next…

1. Any questions?… (Leave me a comment down below.)

2. Come join me on the Facebook page. Let’s keep in touch!

3. Start doing the exercises!

420 thoughts on “Serratus Anterior Exercises for Winged Scapula”

  1. Hey Mark,

    Where are you located and do you offer Zoom appointments? Four years ago my costovertebral joints froze from horrible posture for 20 years and likely incorrect weight lifting. I unlocked those joints using the backpod but have been battling the typical upper and lower cross syndrome. I completely ignored the SERRATUS ANTERIOR! It is extremely weak and tight. Recently I started doing your exercises and massaging it. When I loosen it up, I can finally take a full breath with no rib and back pain. Within 2 minutes it tightens again, so I understand I need to completely reactivate this chronically tight muscle and it will take time.

    When I use the computer or during my daily life, should I be activating the serratus anterior constantly or only during the exercises?

    When I stretch or massage it also doesnt seem to help much aside from 2 minutes of relief, should I simply focus on strengthening exercises?

    I also find massaging my subscapularis helps my shoulders/scapula move better and reduce upper back pain.

    If I had to guess my major issues in order are: Weak/tight Serratus, Weak Lower Trap, Weak/Tight Subscapularis, Tight Lats,Tight Pec Minor, Weak Abs, forward head posture. I am focusing on my Serratus though because that gives me the most relief when it relaxes and isnt chronically tight.

    Does this make sense? I had dry needling on my lats before and was completely pain free for 2 weeks which makes me think the lats/serratus are the main culprit.

    Thanks for your time,


    • Hey Mike,

      Sounds like you might need to focus on engaging the serratus anterior in its full range of motion.

      However – if you are on the computer, you do not want this muscle engaged all the time. A very faint contraction is required to keep your scapula in a more ideal position.

      Releases are still important to do, but focusing on the strengthening is where your focus should be at. (especially if you know it gives you the most relief)

      On top of this, sounds like you will need to do something about your thoracic spine as well? See post: Hunchback posture.


  2. Hie mark….. i hsve scapular winging on right side and right side of ribs are forward than left and the same side shoulder is also forward rotates and the bone doen the breast on right side is also forward than left

    • Hi Mark, Sorry if I have to resort to this again. I’m thankful for the reply, A strong typhoon just hit us recently, They keep coming nowadays.

      I’ve already been 2 months into the rehab and my shoulders feel great! Long way to go though. As for the winging, I can’t really say much.. I can see a change.. Although insignificant. To answer your question, my shoulders aren’t really impinged, I did the Kennedy Hawkins tests and many others that mimic the same movement, and it didn’t really reproduce any pain. I don’t think it’s a tear either, Did the drop arm and arm abduction test and no pain were reproduced either. Although I’m recovering, I really don’t know where I’m heading to.. My recovery seems so vague. I plan to hit the gym once again once the next year hits and I’ll be focusing on rehab exercises and continue strengthening the serratus, and implement deadlifts for my back pain and mid traps aswell as y raises for the lower traps and core exercises. Are you fond though of my training regiment?

    • Hello Phillip,

      Firstly – I hope you and your family have been keeping safe from the recent typhoons.

      Great to hear that your should are feeling better after 2 months of doing the exercises. The winging might take a bit longer to see some results.

      Going to the gym will be great for the shoulder. Progressively load the shoulder in as many different ranges as possible (of course- without causing any symptoms).


  3. Great Blog,

    I am a nurse and have noticed that my scapula is winging on the right side and am wondering if it is related to my sitting at a computer and using my right arm on a regular basis. Bad desk posture, etc. Also shoulder hurts a bit when I lye down to go to sleep. So can suggest what the best position for sleep and or mattress type? I have been making myself not sleep on my stomach with my arms above my head.

    • Hi Nurse Lisa,

      Winging scapula can be caused by incorrect posture whilst sitting in front of the computer.

      I usually suggest sleeping on the back as this promotes the most symmetry of the body. However – many people are habitual side sleepers of which I suspect their forward slouching posture is a main factor.

      If you can not sleep comfortably on the back, you can try sleeping in a quarter off supine position with pillows supporting your back.


    • Hi Mark, I don’t really know how to leave a comment here in your website so I hope I can resort to this.

      I’ve had scapular winging every since I was a kid, and when I start hitting the gym at 17, I undertrained my back due to some bad advices I received over my training course. I hurt my shoulder, and now during the quarantine my other shoulder flared up as well, which I believe is a result of the winging. I’ve been stretching many muscles everyday, particularly the subscapularis, pec minor, lats and levator scap and along with these, I do strengthening movements 2/3/4 a week, external rotations and serratus muscle strengthening movements. Been a month and a half now, I really can’t see that much of a significant change, both scapulas still winging. Can it be from a nerve injury? or is it just simply weak? I haven’t had a traumatic injury before.. Should I keep on persisting? Please help, I keep getting debilitated day by day, and I just want an answer to finally scorn this endless researching frenzy i’ve been in for the past 2 month

    • Hi Phlip,

      Before addressing your scapula winging, try to get the shoulder symptoms down first. (I say this because you probably didn’t have shoulder pain before you started the gym.)

      Aim to reclaim full pain-free range of motion, strength and control of the shoulder.

      Is it possible that you have shoulder impingement?

      In regards to your winging – If you believe there is nerve damage, you can opt to get them tested via nerve conduction study.


  4. Hi Mark,

    Allow a comment on your exercises. I had radical neck surgery which mildly to moderately affected the spinal accessory nerve, or cranial nerve 11. Luckily I had great surgeon. Your exercises are meant really for long thoracic nerve/serratus issues. I saw you did refer to the SAN however.

    Often spinal accessory nerve issues need either surgery or a valiant attempt at lower to mid trap exercises, but PT usually does not work. The degree of winging and pain will determine and luckily mine is minor. If severe winging then the modified Eden Lange muscle transfer is what brings positive results in many cases if the nerve can not be surgically restored.

    • Hey Dave,

      From what I’ve seen, it is very difficult to address winging that is caused by issues of the Spinal Accessory nerve with exercises alone.

      Did you get the Eden Lange muscle transfer surgery? I haven’t seen a patient with this surgery before.


  5. Hi Mark,

    Thanks for your reply. Yes I do have quite a long curved back you’re right. My back is quite S shaped when looking at it from the side.

  6. Hi Mark,

    Thanks for all of your information and useful replies.

    One thing that I really struggle with is this pain where the lower trap meets the spine. More specifically, where the bottom of the lower trap meets the spine. When I bring my shoulder blades back and around, this muscle is very tense, and is raised. It sort of looks swollen. I’m not sure if it’s my trap that is the issue, or the erector spinae, but does this ring a bell for you at all? I perform stretching for my serratus, and the lats, and my rhomboids, and I stretch the erector spinae, and use a tennis ball on this area of pain. However, I find sometimes that the more I stretch, the worse this particular pain gets. It’s so bad sometimes that even if I take ibuprofen, I struggle to sit and do work. Due to Covid it’s difficult in the UK to see anyone to help me and I can’t really find any information online on this specific problem. I’m at a loss and it’s really affecting me. Any help would be really appreciated! Thanks

    • Hi Harry,

      If stretching makes this area worse, it could mean that you are stretching a relatively elongated muscles already.

      This area is more likely the erector spinae. Do you have a long curved upper back by any chance?


  7. Thank you Mark for your prompt suggestions.

    I would prefer the resistance bands to perform the arm and other shoulder workouts that involves “hanging” dumbbells instead.

    Chest, lat and back workouts can be continued using a lighter weight with proper postures not to irritate the scapula.

    Bless you !!

  8. Thank you Mark for responding so promptly. Really appreciated it!! It’s very hard to find people who are so much to help others. Stay blessed !!

    As I mentioned, the pain is not as much but when I try to lift my trapezious muscle (anterior uplifting) on the left side it pains a little. Also, I have been intentionally trying to get my posture right. I am not sure, posture correcting could add to pain as well because the shoulders had been drooping all this while and now I am forcing them to be straight when I am walking or standing or sitting.

    I will follow your suggestions and have already bookmarked this very informative blog.

    Are there any specific exercises that I should avoid coz I am etching to go back to gym and workout with proper posture as you suggested?


    • Hi Raj,

      It is common to feel a bit of discomfort as you start to address your posture.

      My number 1 tip will be not to try to correct your posture 100% of the way. Sometimes it is better to aim for just 40-50% correction to begin with and increase as the body adapts.

      In terms of what exercises to avoid, you don’t really have to avoid anything. I would just encourage you to avoid allow the shoulders to droop downwards/forwards.

      If you were to ask what exercises what pose a higher risk of this movement, it would be shrugs, dead lifts, farmer carries, any exercise where you need to hold dumbells by the sides of your body.

      All the best.


  9. Mark, hi!

    Do you have experience working post-op with patients who have had first rib resection; scalenectomy from nTOS and pec minor decompression?

    How do Occupational or Physical therapists evaluate if a winged scapula might be a result of or caused by surgery/nerve damage, and if yes, can this be rehabilitated through rehab?

    Of course I will consult my vascular surgeon but am interested in many perspectives though I understand this might be outside parameters. Curious about what you’ve seen from your practice since a paramount part of nTOS and pec minor decompression recovery is posture correction.

    Also I love your website!!


    • Hey Maia,

      Yes – I have seen patients following the surgeries you mentioned for TOS.

      You can get nerve conduction study to see if the nerves are impacted. The following nerves control the muscles responsible for keeping the scapula on the rib cage.
      – Long thoracic
      – Spinal accessory
      – Dorsal scapular

      As physical therapist, we usually do muscle strength tests to see if there may be a potential nerve issue.

      If there is a nerve issue, I would still recommend the exercises the strengthen the muscles to regain as much control as possible.

      Other things I would do is strengthen the same muscle on the opposite and electrical stimulation.

      Hope this helps.


      Ps. I love your name. My daughter has the same name.

  10. Hello Mark,

    First of all, thank you for posting out such a useful and detailed analysis and exercises for the winged scapula and postural issues. Really appreciated it.
    I am 40 and recently I started working out on my traps (most under developed muscle till date) by shrugging with 25lbs weights. I never had this much traps before or should I say never pronounced this much (a little exaggerated) but this came with the cost that I started feeling a little discomfort in my left shoulder. Looking in the mirror, I could see that my left shoulder is little higher than my right shoulder. Although it is not bothering me as much, I have stopped working out with the weights and started using a resistance band. I started working out on stretching my serratus muscle and also little stretches to engage the serratus muscle. Also, working out to improve my posture and get rid of rounded shoulders.

    My question, is my diagnosis, hypothesis correct about winged scapula? Although, it does not seem to be as protruded as I have seen many in the pictures. Could shrugging possibly have hurt the scapula in anyways?
    What all exercises if I need to avoid?

    Appreciate your response.

    • Hi Raj,

      If you allow your shoulders to drop and hang downwards whilst holding on to dumbbells ( as seen in the downwards motion after shrugging upwards), it is possible to over stretch the nerves that control the scapula.

      This could lead to scapula winging.

      If this is your issue, you will need to make sure that you maintain optimal shoulder position where the nerve is not stretched.

      A good cue would be to: “Float/Hover your shoulder blades on top of your rib cage”. The shoulder should not be “hanging off”.


  11. Hi Mark,

    First, I follow you on FB but perhaps you can assist here. I had a large Basal Cell removed from my neck/upper trap that was solid,, 2″ long and as such some of the upper trap was removed resulting in about 60% atrophy of the UT. My right scapula has mild winging and my right shoulder is thus forward due to two possible reasons, if not three. First, I believe my accessory nerve had mild impairment post radiation. I had a nerve conduction test indicating such. Secondly I am pretty sure the atrophy of the UT has not helped. Finally, my mid back had plastic surgery to create a flap and the rhomboid and mid trap were cut into. I have been doing PT for over a year! My mid back muscles are strong….I can move my scapula well but when at rest I still have forward right shoulder. Any idea? And this does affect my posture when running too. Thanks! Dave

    • Hello David,

      You need a balance of serratus anterior, trapezius and rhomboids to keep the scapula molded the to the rib cage.

      Surgical removal of the a portion of the trapezius plus the accessory nerve impairment will definitely cause an issue with a muscular contractions around the scapula.

      If you feel that you have strong muscles that bring the scapula backwards but still have rounded shoulders, I would think you still have tight muscles pulling you into rounded shoulders and/or thoracic spine is flexing forwards.


  12. Hello,

    thank you a lot for your work! i’m having a lot of pain in my shoulder blades and lower back. i’ve been doing the serratus anterior exercise for some weeks already and it made me feel better. but , it still hurts, and i noticed that i have a “hole” in the middle, and my side ribs are very noticeable.
    after some research on the internet, nothing seems to look similar with my case…
    what could be the reason for this hole?

    thanks you very much for your help

    • Hey Kyle,

      1. Release/Stretch the Upper trap
      2. Stick with the easier exercises
      3. Only do partial reps until you can control the full movement.


  13. Hello Mark

    Ive been doing alot of release techniques for pec minor/major and traps with theracane and massage ball for the past 3 weeks, but no matter what i try my LEFT shoulder still seems elevated no matter what, and is mostly noticable on the trap area ( my neck appears to be longer in one side because of the elevated traps)

    It was very difficult for me to perform your doorwall stretch because of how internally rotated my shoulder is.

    I’ve also tried releasing my lats ,but no luck.

    Is there something else that could be causing this internal rotation/elevation of my left shoulder?

    Thanks for for this amazing guide !

    • Hey Josuel,

      If you have tried releasing and stretching, the next step you might want to focus on is STRENGTHENING (mainly the lower traps).

      This post might help out as well: Uneven shoulders.

      It could possibly due a side tilt in your spine?

      Another possibility – If your spine is tilted to the right, this will naturally raise your left shoulder upwards.

      See this post: Scoliosis Exercises.


  14. Hey mark. I have a problem with scapula winging and been trying to fix it for awhile now with no avail. My kyphosis is preventing me from doing wall slides correctly along with my lower body arch. I tried correcting the kyphosis but due to the winging I can’t fully retract my scapula. Even if I properly align my body I still get no activation. What do i do?

    • Hey Isaiah,

      Sounds like you might need to focus on getting more mobility in your thoracic spine.

      Check out this post.

      Also – are your shoulder blades already laterally glided over your rib cage? This may make it difficult to engage the serratus anterior.


    • Hey again mark thanks for the reply and recommendation. Also I think I might have a slight lateral glide Over my rib cage due to the kyphosis. After I do the mobility work what can I do to be able to make the engagement with serratus anterior easy again?

    • Hey Isaiah,

      If your scapula is already laterally glided on your rib cage, it might be difficult to feel the serratus anterior engage.

      What I would do is learn how to retract your shoulder blades first, then try to engage the serratus anterior to bring the scapula flat onto the rib cage.


    • Hey again mark thanks for the reply. But I can’t fully retract my scapula due to the winging and the other imbalances throughout my body specifically the kyphosis what can I do to overcome this?

    • Hey there,

      Have you tried stretching and/or releasing the serratus anterior? This might help you with scapular retraction.


  15. Hi Mark,

    Thanks for the updates on the blog and all your hard work.

    I want to check with you if I’m doing something wrong. But when I bring my shoulders back, down, and around, which makes my shoulder blades sort of flush with my back, I can feel the muscles in the back of my neck pulling. Is this normal, or does this mean that I am doing something wrong? I’m worried I might be exaggerating the stretch too much, as I look like someone performing a strongman position to show off their lats.

    • Hey Harry,

      You may be tensing your neck too much as you perform the movement. Try to focus on keeping this area relaxed as you perform the scapula movement.

      If this is difficult, reduce your intensity by 20-30% and see if you are now able to keep the neck relaxed.

      I guess this movement does resemble a lat spread. The main difference being is that you do not want to move your arms to help you move your scapula. Try to think of the scapula moving mainly (as opposed the arms)


  16. Hi Mark,

    I have been trying some of these exercises already for a few weeks and had some questions.
    I try to do scapular pushups, including the kneeling scapular pushups, if I engage my serratus anterior should my scapular flare out at the top of the push up (like when I am pushing to the top) ,or am I doing this wrong? Should I try to keep my scapular fixed to my body at all times? Or will this flaring of the scapular reduce with time and better strength.
    Furthermore, most of my scapular winging occurs when my arms are behind my body (flexion?) , or when standing neutral. What could this indicate? Weak serratus / rhomboids? I don’t think I have a good mind muscle connection with my serratus and it feels difficult to get it to fire, am not sure if it’s just pure weakness in the muscle, bad mind muscle connection or nerve damage like you mentioned. I’ve had a very dysfunctional body for over 10 years with things like depressed shoulder, inward rotation, tight muscles etc, and have only been fixing my body for the last 2 months, baby steps I know but any insight would be appreciated, am sorry it is so long!
    Regards, Ben

    • Hi Ben,

      When performing these exercises, you want the scapula to wrap around the ribs. You do not want the scapula to shrug upwards.

      If you are shrugging it upwards, you might be engaging your upper trapezius to perform this movement.

      It sounds like you might have a downward rotated scapula (“droopy shoulder”) which can often be partnered with winging when extending the arms backwards. (a tight pec minor is usually involved!)

      Keep doing these exercises. Once you have a good feel, start to engage the serratus anterior whilst bringing the arm back.


  17. Hi Mark! Your exercises have helped me immensely- even after a year of PT – thank you!! I had an undiagnosed left shoulder dislocation for a year that resulted in an injury to my long thoracic nerve and thus the winged scapula. My current issue is, as I work more and more to strengthen these muscles, I notice other side effects – headache above the left eye, left eye sensitivity/pressure and trigger points throughout the left side of neck that are continuous. I’m assuming I may be pinching a nerve as working these muscles may be creating inflammation? Is this an issue you’ve seen in the past? If so, what do you suggest as supplemental to help these issues?

    Thanks Mark! Keep on being awesome!!

    • Hey Awesome Brooke!!

      Great to hear that the exercises have helped with your winging.

      If you are feeling headaches and left eye sensitivity after performing the exercises, I usually find that a muscle connected to the base of the skull (left side in your case) could be tensing up.

      Check out this post for the main muscles that cause headaches: How to get rid of a Headache (cause by muscles)

      Make sure that you are keeping your neck completely relaxed and that you are not shrugging your shoulders as you perform the exercises.

      All the best


  18. Hi Mark, I’ve been doing exercises for a few months and I can’t see any result. Every time when I try to do the non-flexing elbows pushups I can’t feel any struggle. I’ve noticed that I feel it when I lift my arm forward, should I keep doing just it or the other exercises too? I have winged scapula in the right side.

  19. Hi Mark,

    How long does it usually take to recover from winged scaupla? if we are regularly performing all the exercises and stretches.

  20. Hi mark,
    I was wondering if you have any suggestions or could do a post addressing a sick scapula or scapular dyskinesis. I am 22 years old and have noticed my scapula is raised while I retract on one side.

    • Hi Dan. I have this exact issue but on my right side. If I flex my bicep out in front of my that scapula wings out pretty far in the back and points up. Also when I do pushups that blade sticks up like a cat’s blades. Did you ever figure it out?

  21. Hi Mark, I’m 22years and I have winged scapular on both sides.l don’t know if it’s generic bcoz two of my siblings have it too.
    What can I do to get rid of it?

  22. Hi Mark,
    Im 17 years old with thoracic scoliosis, and have dealt with a winged scapula since before i was 10years old. The doctors focused on my scoliosis rather than my shoulder blade, and i wish i couldve gotten treatment as that wouldve been more effective considering my age at the time. I was wondering if these exercises have ever helped/can help somebody with thoracic scoliosis which is causing the shoulderblade to protrude. I did not get surgery for my scoliosis. Thank you.

    • Hey Molly,

      I would feel you need to address both the winged scapula and the scoliosis.

      Scoliosis affects the shape of the rib cage of which the scapula sits on.

      If you only address the winged scapula, you may get limited results.


  23. Hi Mark,

    I have been doing these exercises for a few days now. Actually my left shoulder has a winged scapula + left collar bone is a bit outward + left ribcage is a bit higher compared to the right one. This has mainly happened because in my entire childhood I used to study by lying on the left side.

    What can you recommend in this case?

    • Hey Navkirat,

      You can either keep persisting with the exercises or you will need to determine what other factors could be contributing to the winged scapula.

      Next step I usually recommend is making sure that you don’t have a flat thoracic spine.


  24. Hello mark

    I’ve been trying to perform wall slides lately for my WS but my rounded shoulders and light kyphosis compositing with my lower back arch isn’t Allowing me to pull my shoulder blades down and back. What should I do?

  25. Hello Mark
    I’m a 15 year old with slight scapular winging. Will it correct itself by adulthood or do I need to implement you exercises?

    • Hi Pranav,

      It could go away by itself. (Unlikely – but not impossible.)

      You can give the exercises a try to see if it helps you.


    • Hi Mark!

      I’m recently noticed that I may have slight winged scapula in my right shoulder, so I’m really thankful for these exercises! My only concern is, how long would you recommend doing these exercises in order to see results?

  26. Hey Mark,

    So i have winging scapula on both sides (it looks really bad) and rounded shoulders. My right shoulder makes this really loud crunching sound every time i roll my shoulder back. ive had this for a few years. it doest hurt but i know its not normal. ive never heard of anyone having this before and just wanted your opinion on what it is and how can i fix it.

    Kind regards,

    • Hey Sarah,

      Crunching sound is most like “Snapping scapula syndrome”. It basically the edge of the scapula rubbings against your ribs!

      It is related to the position of your shoulder blade.

      If you have rounded shoulders and winged scapula, it could possible be due to these issues!


  27. Hello! I’ve been suffering from a winged scapula for years now. I have been to the physio on and off as it flares up. The exercises help short term but the issue keeps coming back.

    Do you think a posture corrector would be of assistance? Thanks in advance!

    • Hey Callum,

      I am not a massive fan of posture braces purely because I don’t want people to become reliant on it.

      I am not aware of any posture brace that address winging of the scapula specifically either.


  28. Hi Mark,

    I’ve been dealing with an issue for a while and I’d be grateful for any information you can provide as to what you think is going on. It is based around my right shoulder and scapula. I first noticed weakness in my right side at the gym when I was doing exercises like the dumbbell bench press and bicep curls. There was no pain but definite weakness and a lack of strength. When I tried to do pull-ups I had no strength on my right side to pull up and if I hung from the bar, my right hand would be the first to come off. When I looked in the mirror holding dumbbells, I noticed my right arm hung lower than my left. Also, in day-to-day activities, there was a strain around my pec minor.

    This has been going on for 12-18 months and I’ve spoken to a physio and personal trainer in the gym. I don’t feel they’ve been able to properly diagnose the issue. Around the time when this first started, I went for an MRI and they found no structural damage internally. The trainer at the gym helped with some sports massage and stretching which helped to alleviate the strain around my pec minor. As of today, the biggest issue I am suffering with is weakness and a lack of muscle activation in my right side. This is emphasised particularly when I lift my hands above my head. When I lift my arms, there is an asymmetry between the right and left side with the right side lacking a feeling of strength. Also, when I squeeze my shoulder blades together, I don’t have much control over my right side and the muscles on the right get very tight. If I stand up straight and depress my shoulders as much as possible, my right side goes lower than the left.

    I’ve looked at video of myself and I have a winged scapula on the left when I lift my arms up and down. The left scapula pops off my ribcage when the arms come down. However, it doesn’t pop off as bad on my right which is the side that’s troubling me. Sorry for dumping so much info on you and I know it’s difficult without any photo or video evidence but any help you can provide would be appreciated. I may need to go and see a physio again but in the current circumstances, I won’t be able to get out for a while. I came across your website while researching ‘winged scapula’ so thought I’d give you a message to get your opinion.


    Marc Fairman

    • Hello Marc,

      Whoa – this is a long comment.

      Let me try my best to answer it.

      – The first thing I would check is your grip strength LvsR. (esp. thumb and pinky opposition which is very important in gripping)
      – “When I looked in the mirror holding dumbbells, I noticed my right arm hung lower than my left”
      This Sounds like your shoulder heights are uneven. For more information check out these blog posts: Uneven shoulders and Scoliosis Exercises to see if they match what you have.
      – Pec minor tightness can pull that right shoulder down (depression) and medially rotate the scapula (part of winging).
      – With anyone with an over-active pec minor, I like to ask the patient if they use the computer mouse on a daily basis and if their mouse is in the correct position. (make sure you are not over reaching for it)
      – If your scapula are in a different starting positions, this could lead to asymmetries when you lift your arm up.
      – If your scapula wings as you lower your arm down, chances are you need to learn to activate your serratus anterior whilst it is lengthening. A good exercise for this is Wall Sides (see blog post).

      Hope this helps


  29. Hey Mark I am Philipp from Germany and I really like your blog very much. You put out great content and I appreciate that a lot. I wonder if you know about ‘SLAP ‘ problems, i.e. glenoid labrum lesion. I have such a problem on my right shoulder after an injury in the gym (using too much weight for dumbbell shoulder press). An MRI image does not show clear results, only that the labrum glenoidal anterius seems to be diffusely thickened and the supsapularis seem to be diffusely thickened. Do you think this relates to scapula control and scapular rhythm? Thanks so much for reply!

    • Hello Philipp from Germany,

      Scapula control could be contributing.

      Before you do that, I would make sure that you have full internal and external rotation of your shoulder.

      I would encourage you to strengthen in all directions (especially in the direction that you are having some difficulties with)

      You will also need to find out exactly which tendons/muscles are involved.


    • Hi Mark, thank you so much for your fast reply. Wow! You really are a blessing. I have a good range of motion with my shoulder, external and internalwise. However I have problems to identify the involved muscles.
      I uploaded a extremely short video (only 5(!) seconds!) in which I perform reps of the butterfly reverse exercise. You will see that at second two, my right shoulder blade pops out by itself in an autonomous fashion. This irritates me a lot. In general I do not have feelings of pain, but a strange feeling of discomfort in motions like that and in general that my left and right shoulderblades feel different. Do you have an idea how this popping out may be explained, e.g. which specific muscles are too weak or if this is a hint to a injury of the nerves ? I do have a 4-arched scoliosis that is symmetrical, about 10 degrees, but before my labrum lesion this problem wasn’t appearing.

      Mark, If you would be able to take a look at this as I said very short clip (5 second) I would be so thankful !!!

    • Yo Philipp,

      I checked out your video.

      It looks like that right shoulder blade medial border lifts + downward rotates when you take off the tension going through you arm.

      This might mean you need to focus on engaging your serratus anterior in exercises where your arms are in front of you (90 degrees flexion).


  30. Hello Mark,

    Very useful and thank you very much. I was diagnosed with Long thoracic nerve aponevrosis leading to winging right scapula and extreme pain on the right shoulder 9 months ago. Since then pain reduced until ten days ago that my right shoulder started hurting a lot and reduced mobility and the physio said it’s a rotator cuff issue. Would highly appreciate your view

    • Hi Nikolas,

      Did the physio say which specific rotator cuff muscle is generating your pain?

      This would give the best information as to what exercise you should be doing.


    • Hey Mark, some stretches I can’t feel the Serratus Anterior like when you’re holding a weight directly above you with your arm straight and the level two first resistance band stretch. How am I supposed to activate it then? And how long does it take approximately to become completely corrected?

  31. Hi Mark,
    I read your article regarding scapular winging and its been a lot of help. I do go to the gym and overhead movements have not been much of a problem. The problem is the winged side on all pull movements gives out early. Which is resulting on the weaker side lacking in muscular development, especially the front delt. There is no pain whatsoever just some discomfort in the region when i rest my back too long on something. Should i continue working out and expect it to even out eventually?

    • Hey Joshua,

      Ideally – I would have to see your technique to give a better answer to your question.

      However – if you feel the scapula winging is impacting your imbalance, I would focus on correcting the winging.

      You can also consider incorporating more single arm exercises to help balance things out.


    • Hi mr mark….I have been facing serious health issue since last yr april…my right shoulder blade is bulger compared to the left and my the right pec is also shortened..I also feel tightness in between my armpit which makes me uncomfortable….pls help me out on what to do to treat this…

  32. Hey Mark. both my scapulas are winged so I kinda have an Igor thing going on. And believe it or not, posture gives an impression about a person. A slouched posture give the impression of low confidence and all that. I am currently working these exercises because lately I’ve been experiencing neck and upper back and shoulder pains. These instructions along with the pics are detailed and very helpful. Thanks a million.

  33. sir mark I have a wing scapula only on right side and my right shoulder is also internally rotated forward….my upper body is totally shapeless..I have visited different hospitals carried out xrays which came out negative but yet the problem is still there…which is the best exercises to focus on to target the winged scapular cus I hav been trying alot of them…pls help

    • sir mark I have a wing scapula only on right side and my right shoulder is also internally rotated forward….my upper body is totally shapeless..I have visited different hospitals carried out xrays which came out negative but yet the problem is still there…which is the best exercises to focus on to target the winged scapular cus I hav been trying alot of them…pls help

  34. Hi Mark, I know I have a few issues. A big issue is winged scapula, I’m busy with fix it and I go amazing :) I alse have forward shoulders and a little bit anterior pelvic tilt, I think everything is connected. When I can push my blades in a good position, is that the right time to go to the gym and do things like facepull, row and more. To train the blades in a good position.

    I also can train the rest of my body in a good line, pelvic tilt gives a little bit rib flare bla bla. You know what I mean :)

    I think I need to focus on core, glutes and upper back. What do you think?

    Its difficult to make the right decision on the right moment. Can you help me a little bit with it? :) thanks!

    Hope to hear from you!


  35. Hi mark,

    My scapula move fine on all the upward rotations. It wings on though on the (RHS) downward rotations. So i dont think my problem is with the serratus anterior. What rehab movements should i undertake?

    Kind regards

    • Hi Alan,

      Sounds like you may need to focus on the eccentric control of the serratus anterior muscle. (lowering)

      The exercises mentioned are still good, you will just need to focus on the lowering motion.


  36. Hi Mark,
    It’s great what you do, really simple and clean so everyone can do it.

    I have a question, I have the winging problem (both shoulders) and also forward head and forward shoulders I think. I think it’s connected so with that reason I have it all maybe, not really much but a little bit. Only the winging is really simple to see at my back.

    I do the three exercise program on 1 day, not al the exercises but the first 3/4 steps of the three programs. Is it normal in the night and day after training that I feel my scapula a lot. Bottom and inside of the scapula :)

    Hope to hear from you.


    • Hey Mike,

      If you feel a bit of soreness after doing the strengthening exercises, it is most likely due to doing an exercise that you are not used it.

      It should clear within a couple days!


  37. Hi Mark – Thank you for your amazing resources! I am a 39 year old woman with both winged scapula and rounded shoulders. Should I address one first and then the other? Both at the same time? (Both might be hard since I have limited time to focus on this.)
    Also, as I progress through the different levels of difficulty, should I stop doing the easier exercises and replace with the more difficult ones, or just continue to do the easier and add on to them?
    Thank you again. I am really hopeful I can correct these issues with your help.

    • Hey Natalia,

      In regards to your Rounded shoulders and Winged scapula: You can address one at a time or even both at the same time. In terms of which one to attack first, it really depends on which one is causing your symptoms.

      You can start with the easier exercises, once you have mastered the correct contraction, you don’t need to continue with the easier ones once you can do the more difficult ones.


  38. Hi Mark, big fan of your website. I got injured 2 years ago (incidentally hit in shoulder by someone twice my size), and have since had significant weakness on the right side of my body. I’ve seen several specialists and tried PT programs for scap winging, ATP and other areas, but any progress seems to be reversed by the pain endured from sitting (and even standing) at a computer 5+ days / week. Oddly enough, the pain seems to impact me fairly significantly, causing my right side to feel weak all the time, and my left side to overcompensate and therefore be in pain (especially at the joints). Have also tried focusing on good computer posture, standing desk, just about any other avenue I could think of.

    Hoping to hear any initial thoughts from you and potentially even start a dialogue.

    • Hey Eli,

      Given you have had a lot of PT programs already, have you had any scans to the cervical spine region to rule out any nerve issues there?


    • Thanks Mark, I have had MRIs including cervical spine, all negative. Have also seen additional specialists, and all say something seems off but can’t diagnose / identify. There’s likely a stress / anxiety component that could contribute, but there is definitely a physical aspect (I’m certain it’s not all just in my head, haha). Know it’s kind of a difficult problem and solution seems uncertain, but curious if you have any other thoughts given seems like you’ve heard a ton of these stories.

    • Hey mark! I have winged scapula on right side and same side shoulder and rib cage is forward than other side ..please help me to explain my problem and i too have right side of leg forward than other when i stand

  39. am 17 i have a very badly winged scapula. it have no pain just normal but my posture is very slouchy. even worst am getting bullied by this case. my goal is to improve my posture and to do that i have to get my scapula flat.your exercises are not helpful for me, so now am doing wheight lifting will it help me?

  40. Sir, when I take my both hand to touch the scapula, my left scapula appears to be more bigger than the left scapula, as I’m doing gym I think because of gym I’m suffering this sir please guide me what to do now

  41. hi mark,
    my scapula is moving away sideways while I bench press and even I cant load move weight as sometimes whole weight is on it, after some exercises I can’t turn my neck sideways to the winged side, as I have a pain in the back neck of the opposite side. even my shoulder is elevated to the winged side. would these exercises alone will help ? or should I do something else too

  42. Hey Mark,
    I’m 14years old and I’m pretty sure I’ve had this problem my whole life. I mostly don’t feel any pain, but sometimes when I move a lot the space between my shoulders and neck start hurting, I don’t know if that has to do with this but I thought I’d say it just to be sure. Can your exercises help me or what should I do?

  43. Hi Mark…Your post indicates what is to be done with scapular winging is caused by, usually, an issue with the long thoracic nerve, which is 90%+ of winging instances. However, in about 10% the winging is due to issues with either the spinal accessory nerve or dorsal scapular nerve, which happens to be my case. Weak mid back muscles due to surgery. In those instances different PT exercises are called for, such as rhomoid, mid and lower trap strengthening. Regards, Dave

    PS- In my instance I can just hope for a 50% improvement, and working core, forward head posture etc. is key too.

  44. Hi Mark,

    I found your website by coincidence when I was doing a search on how to fix a shoulder blade which sticks out. Sorry for not using the correct term and sorry for an ocassional mistake, English is not my mother tongue. I have found your website and got excited. I have had winged scapula from the time I was a child. I think it might have even happened while I was born and trying to squeeze to come out of my mum as a newborn. Anyway, the doctors diagnosed me first with scoliosis but then I talked to very good physiotherapist and she said that I dont seem to have scoliosis, but rather hyperlordosis which is then causing kyphosis below my neck. So I also have round shoulders. In any case I wanted to ask you, if this winged scapula could be fixed even when it is something that I have been having since I was a child. I would like to improve my posture and I have also noticed that my 5 year old son seems to have a bit of a winged scapula as well, so I would like to help him as well as myself. I would like to start doing the exercises you suggest on your website but I just wonder if it is something what would help me if I have had this since I was a child and Im now 37 years old? Thank you very much for your answer and your work with helping us! Michaela

  45. Hi Mark,

    Thank you for all the very useful information on your website. I have a badly winged scapula from when I dislocated it about 15 years ago and must have damaged my long thoracic nerve. Do you think that the exercises will help or is it just always going to stay winged because the serrated anterior is not innervated anymore? I really want to try and keep it functional and reduce the pain.

    Thank you for your advice,

    • Hey Catherine,

      Try to get the most out of your serratus anterior. The amount of recruitment might be dictated by how much nerve damage there is, but this shouldn’t stop you ! The body heals in weird and wonderful ways.


  46. Hi Mark, Ive been reading a lot on your website and wanted to get your opinion on my situation.

    My primary problem I had is loss of circulation, vaseodialation, and possibly nerve paresthesia in the arms most notably, but also in other areas of my body. This translated into neck pain, and scapular clicking, pain, and winging. More recently, my muscles are shaking and spasming when under load, such as a bicep curl. Its mainly on my right side, and I am curious to find out how all of these are related and reversed.

    I have a possible whip lash injury from tubing that could be the origin, but I also was a gymnast for 2+ years (lots of lifting and stability work) and have been weight training and powerlifting for about 4 + serious years. I have seen physicians, PT’s, and Chiro’s and not seeing great improvement.

    What would you think about this, and suggest?

    • additionally, I started these problems around 2 years ago with a slow increase of symptoms, I was 18 at the time and healthy strong and active. Now I am 20, less muscle, worsened posture, and less active.

  47. Hi Mark,
    Thank you so much for this information! I was wondering, is it normal to be sore around my scapula that is winged after doing these exercises?

    Also, I’ve been going back to the gym. I have a very limited range of motion overhead on my right arm due to scapular winging. Do you recommend I still try to do overhead exercises or just stick to do the exercises you recommend?

    • Hey Brigitte,

      It is common to feel DOMS (Delayed onset of muscle soreness) around the scapula after doing the exercises.

      It means you are targeting the right muscle!

      In regards to over head exercises, you can still do them, but make sure that you are not creating any new issues.


  48. Hi Mark,

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom, great article. I’m currently on a journey to fix my wing scapula, I have no idea how it happened but it is what it is. I had en EMG test and all my nerves are fine so I wanted to check if you have ever seen winged scapula going back to normal if nerves aren’t damaged?

    Thank you

  49. Hello Mark,
    Thanks a lot for this tutorial i just started yesterday ! I’ve got 2 questions though. I picked up the habit of filming myself when doing your exercises to ensure that i have a good form. However i noticed that when im doing the wall push-ups that the shoulder blades still stick out as im pushing against the wall while activating the seratus anterior. Is this normal ? The second question is : my left(scalene muscle ? maybe ?) is all tight when im lifting something heavy in the right hand and vice versa and overall they are both always tight. What could i do ?

    Best regards, Fabrice

    • Hi Fabrice,

      Filming yourself doing exercises? NICE! Great way to keep track of your form.

      If you tend to wing during a wall push up, here are some tips:

      – Gently Tilt your shoulder blades backwards. (Think about tucking the inferior tip of the shoulder blade into your back pocket)
      – Make sure you have full shoulder internal rotation.
      – Do a partial wall push up in the range in which you can control the winging.
      – Focus on easier exercise for the time being. Progress to wall push up when you are ready.
      – Release that pec minor a bit more.

      In regards to your neck muscles, it may be that your neck muscles are compensating for weak shoulder muscles. (Of course – this would be a guess as I haven’t assessed you personally). If this is the case – focus on getting your shoulders right. This should help with the neck.


  50. I’ve been educating myself recently about posture and how it impacts shoulder impingement, something I’ve had for the past 8 years (yeah it sucks lol). I recently looked into the importance of scapular stability and the serratus anterior, and eventually stumbled across your site, and was very impressed with the knowledge and layout of it all! So first of all, thank you for the wealth of information you have provided, I’ll be sure to read as much as I can.

    I’m starting my own journey where I’m correcting my posture after years of suffering and not truly realizing the impact it has. I’ve begun work on activating my inhibited glutes and core to get out of anterior pelvic tilt, and work the lower traps, rear delts, rhomboids and the posterior chain in general to help alleviate my rounded shoulders. I’ve had a lack of compete overhead mobility in my shoulders, something I thought was shoulder related but have since learnt the last part of the range of motion actually comes from the scapula fully upwardly rotating. I can see my scapula doesn’t sit flat on my back, and doesn’t fully upwardly rotate when my arms go overhead, and realized my serratus is the culprit.

    On your website it says to activate and engage the the serratus to feel it working, but I am struggling even with this. If I raise my arm to the side (like a lateral raise) and rotate my upper arm (so my thumb point upwards) I can feel my serratus flex if my hands are on my ribcage. Other than that, I don’t know how to activate, flex or engage, and I feel like my lats are working instead of it. Is this normal for someone in my position? I’m unsure whether doing the prescribed exercises without feeling the serratus or activating it will be of any help. If you could shed light on this, I would be grateful!

    Thanks again for the impressive site! I’ll be sure to read and share with people that need the info!

    Indi Ladhar

    • Hello Indi,

      Can you feel them engage during the “Rock back” exercise?

      You might need to focus on simpler exercises (such as any exercises where your hand or forearm is supported on a surface) before progressing to the open chain exercises.

      Ps. You are likely engaging the serratus anterior, but just can’t feel it yet.


  51. Hi,Mark
    I have both scoliosis and hyper lordosis … hyper lordosis is beacause of the spondy i have
    i wanted to know if my winged scapula is related to my scoliosis and hyperlorsis and if yes can i fix this … thanks for respponding

    • Hey Shyn,

      Winged scapula can be a result of scoliosis. This is due to the change of shape of the rib cage.

      Hyperlordosis should not directly affect the winging of the scapula.


    • Thanks for responding me …if I get a surgery because of my spondy can i gain more height and if yes how much? And can i fix my winged scapula even though it’s because of the scolioses?

  52. Hi Mark. What kind of doctor should I see regarding this issue? I have had problems finding a doctor that can explain and treat my condition. It has been very painful for many years.

  53. Hi Mark,

    Is it unusual when you have scapular winging that muscles in your neck and chest are painful as well? I definitely have a tight pec minor, but as a means to compensate I feel a lot of tension in my neck as well. Scalenes, levator?

    I have some slight winging. I suspect it is due to the weakness and inactivity of the serratus over a long period of time..

    Anyways. Thanks a lot for this article. You explain everything so we’ll it really is amazing. The fact that you put this out there is awesome. Thanks for your work!

    • Hey Michael,

      It is possible that the winging might be connected to your chest (possibly pec minor) and front of neck pain.

      I would also check to see if you have a Forward head posture as this can lead to front neck issues.


    • Hey there,

      I would start with 2/week.

      Assess how your body responds to the exercises, and then increase/decrease from here.

      If possible, try to do more frequently if the body allows it.


  54. Hello Mark,

    I’m 14 and I’ve had winging scapula for 3 to 2 years now and I hate how my shoulder blades stick out especially with my shirt off.
    I don’t feel any pain on my shoulder blades.
    Every time I try to pinch my shoulder blades back and to try and hide them I feel like my back muscles are tired and eventually the shoulder blades stick back out and my shoulders round forwards.
    I’m currently using your exercises but do you know how I could fix/reduce how much my shoulder blades stick out by working on my posture or is that not possible?


    • Hey Afonsa,

      Best thing would be to keep following the suggested exercises.

      Keep in mind – purely pinching the shoulders backwards might make things worse! Aim for more of a back, down and around motion of the scapula (see blog post for more information)


  55. Hello Mark,

    I injured my supraspinatus tendon on my left side in wreck while skiing. I have been going to PT / visiting an ortho. My pain / inflammation has greatly subsided. However, I have a winged scapula on my left side. Specifically while lowering my left arm in a t motion. It is not evident while static. I have bad posture, addressing that as well though, i’m wondering if my winged scapula existed prior to the blow to my shoulder. As I have for the past few years, had a hot spot on near my spine right of the left scapula, left of the spine. Regardless, is it possible to remedy the winged scapula if it as the result of an acute injury? I’ve been doing exercises daily for the past few weeks.

    Thanks – Hunter

    • Hey Hunter,

      If you have the winged scapula due to the recent shoulder issue, then it is definitely possible to fix the winging (provided that you didn’t injure any nerves at the time of injury).


  56. Hello! Great article, I’ve been struggling with this for years and haven’t been successful at fixing my scapular winging. Question for you – what’s the difference between activating your serratus anterior and exercise Level 1 (C)? They seem very similar.

    I am determined to follow your plan to fix my problem!

    • Hey Ryan,

      Pretty much the same except that the Level 1 C exercise requires you to move in and out of the position. (that is, protract then retract back into place)


  57. Hi Mark,

    Thanks for this amazing post! These have been really good at getting my shoulder blade back in place.

    I have a question about the cause of my scapula winging that kind of hangs over me (happened several years ago now) – I mentioned to doctors after it happened but didn’t really get any answers. My scapula started winging after a night where I had the most intense pain I’ve probably ever felt – went to bed one night then pow, was in agony, felt like my shoulder and arm was being ripped off of my body over about 4 hours, with huge pain round the collar bone and upper arm especially. It was insane. After that, I couldn’t really lift my arm, and usage slowly returned. Any idea what the hell that was? It seemed to be totally out of the blue (only I did have really bad posture from sitting badly at an office job). The pain level and suddenness was really something.

    I don’t know if this is related too, but when I do the exercises I get really achy upper arms (on the underside), is this anything to worry about?

    Many thanks!

    • Hey Em,

      The sudden nature of your pain without an obvious mechanism of injury is interesting.

      It could be due to the particular position you were in that may have placed pressure on some structures (?possibly muscle spasm) in the area of pain.

      In regards to your upper arm pain, there are quite a few structures in that region around the arm pit. Can you pin point the exact area of pain?


    • Hi Mark,
      I couldn’t find how to leave a comment on the actual article so I’m replying this way.
      Can you tell me, on average, how long does it take to normalize the shoulder blades by doing these exercises?

    • Hey Mickey,

      Really hard to say! Too many factors contributing.

      The first thing is being able to engage the serratus anterior to keep that scapula onto the rib cage.

      Once you have this, you should notice improvements. If not – there might be other things that you might need to address


    • This is exactly how to scapular winging happened to me. Super intense pain one night and then slowly started to go away after a couple weeks. Didn’t notice the winging until I realized I had lost overhead mobility

  58. To activate the serratus anterior during the exercices, is this a good sign if I feel something on the scapula area or I need to feel something directly on the muscle?

    • Hey Joshua,

      Try to feel the serratus anterior muscle engaging. (I feel that it is good for the mind to muscle connection if anything)

      Remember – this muscles covers the entire under surface of the scapula and wraps around the ribs (under the arm pits and lower)


  59. Hi Mark, sorry for my bad English I’m from France but thank you for this article, very informative and helpful !
    I have a big issue, I feel nothing when I’m protacting and do the the exercice, I’m putting my shoulder blade forward as much as I can but I feel nothing in the muscle, I’m just feeling something on the area of the shoulder blade…
    How do we know if we are engaging the serratus anterior?
    Thank you

    • Hey Beg,

      You are probably still engaging that Serratus Anterior to an extent.

      But it’s important to feel that muscle!

      Try focusing on pushing your elbows further away from you. Think of it as the shoulder blade “wrapping around” the rib cage.


  60. hi, mark
    what if is a long thoracic nerve issue, does these exercices fix the ploblem, or only a surgery fix it

    • Hey Thiago,

      If the actual nerve is damaged, there may be a limitation on how much you can correct this issue.

      If the nerve is compressed, if you can get rid of the compression, you are more likely to restore more innervation to the serratus anterior, and thus, a better chance to fix your winged scapula.


  61. Hi Mark,

    I’ve been looking around for exercises to help with my pain. I have a lot of tension in the right scapula area, and its very crunchy when I try to move or stretch it. I also get pain in my shoulder and down my arm, my shoulder tends to click a lot and it feels good when I release it (although it can be quite painful).

    My job involves me sitting at a desk all day. Do you think the exercises on this page should help? I’ve tried deep tissue massage, I play tennis, I go to the gym a few times a week, and nothing seems to be working for me.



    • Hey Sean,

      These exercises are specifically for Winging of the scapula.

      If you have this problem and it’s causing your shoulder blade issues, then the exercises should help quite a bit.

      However – there are many causes of shoulder blade pain.

      Check out this post: How to fix Shoulder blade pain.


  62. Hello,mark i had protuding of scapula on my back if i strengthen and fully active my sarratus anterior muscle then my protuding of scapula (winged scapula) is fixed? and when i was going to gym i remember that i was weak at bench press and overhead presses. i never had any kind of intense trauma or injury in life , i was very active and kinda strong kid i never had any pain in my scapula but allways and eversince i noticed when i 10 or 11 year old that when i flex my shoulder my scapula is protuding out from my back. i want to be an powerlifting strongman but this thing is very unlikeble. thank you, your doing great job

  63. Hello mark, When i flex my shoulder (most mascular pose), my scapula is protrude in top of my back. please tell me what is my condition,is it weak S.A or any kind of damage or it is untreatable all i want is normal me thanks.

    • Hi mark thank you for reply. If i strengthen and fully active my sarratus anterior muscle, is then protudution of scapula is completly cured and look like normal?

    • If the winging is due to lack of control of the serratus anterior, then activating/strengthening should significantly improve the appearance.


  64. Thank you-after nearly a year after a car accident, and not getting better, but worse, it is very good to come across your information and help- am going to get on these exercises! Thank you for your concern!

  65. Hi Mark,

    When I activate my serratus anterior muscles, specifically moving downwards, in the left shoulder blade area I am feeling a grinding/cracking sound. It is mildly painful only on that side. I also hear the same sound when I roll my shoulders backwards. Do you recommend I continue? Or do you believe this will get better as I strengthen? I feel as if this problem is causing my upper back pain. Also I do have a winging of my shoulder blades. Do you feel as if these exercises will address this problem?

    Thanks so much.

    • Hey there Anton,

      It sounds like you have a case of Snapping scapula syndrome. It is basically where the shoulder blades grinds against your ribs (or in some cases, the muscles flicking over bony prominence)

      It should improve as your shoulder blade moves better on top of your rib cage.


  66. Hello Mark,
    First I’d like to thank you for the wonderful information you share on here, I’ve been using your techniques and its helped dramatically reduce the pain that I have(:
    I’m a 23 YO male who leads an active life style but I started noticing some differences in fall of last year. I’ve been researching my body’s dysfunctions a fair amount and I’ve gotten to the point where I know that I step differently with my right foot, I have an arch but step more on the outside of my foot, I’ve got a tight calf, I’m missing muscle on my right thigh(that my left side has), if I’m not focusing on squeezing my glutes my right leg internally rotates, I visually see less muscle on my right abs, and my right scapula is winging. I basically want to know if this sounds like any specific problem? Or if this may be the top down waterfall effect of my winged scapula?
    I really would like to go back to lifting in the gym but I’m afraid that I’d only be doing more damage to this plethora of problems? Any advice?

    • Hey Hunter,

      It sounds like you have a domino effect of postural issues.

      The question being – which one came first? (This is where you need to think back to past injuries, when your bad postural habits started, sports, work requirements etc.)

      If you feel you place more weight on the outside of the right foot, your pelvis may be translating over the right foot as you walk. If you have a tight calf on that side, your pelvis may also be rotating to the right as well.

      Check out this post: How to fix a Rotated pelvis.


  67. Hi my forearm/hand starts tingling when I try to do the serratus anterior activation, especially when I attempt the progression.

    I notice when I put my arm overhead, and feel the musculature beneath the under arm/shoulder blade. It is rounding over, becoming like a C shape, preventing me from extending arm overhead properly.

    What do these mean?

    • Hey Michael,

      Which fingers do you feel the tingling? It sounds like you may have some nerve tension that you might need to deal with.

      When you activate your serratus anterior, you want to balance it with the contraction of the muscles that pull your shoulders backwards.

      Too much serratus will cause your shoulders to hunch forwards which will prevent you from extending arms over head.


  68. my left chest is quiet bigger than my right and i also feel right shoulder is lower than my left
    Is this is due to winged scapula if how if in my case

    • Hey Raj,

      A winged scapula may be a factor.

      Other things you would need to consider:
      – Training technique
      – Shoulder mobility
      – Rotated torso
      – Uneven shoulders


    • Hi Mark,

      Concerning the stretches, would I do them on both sides of my body or just the side of my winged scapula? (my left scapula is winged)

    • Hey Andrew,

      You can do both, but if you are performing the exercises to fix your winged scapula, I would prioritize the left side.


  69. I want to thank you for your posts it helped me a lot. I can’t thank you enough for that. I want to tell you my case. I can’t really afford going to a doctor. So please can you help me I’ve been suffering for 7months now I really need help and a good honest advise from an honest person like you who help people to get better.I’m suffering from a neck spasm which causing a pinched nerve, a spasm in the Dorsal spine which lead to a straightened dorsal spine, and a slight degeneration in lumber spine between l5-s1. I really can’t go to see a doctor and I don’t have enough money I might be able to buy some medication but I can’t afford physical therapy. Any suggestions or medication or exercises to help these problems I’ve been having problems for months and I’m really hurt. I’m really depressed lately. No one to support me. Please you’re my last hope. I’ll wait for your replay.please any time advise and suggestions will be helpful. Oh I forgot. I have mayonal at home will it help to get rid of spasm.

    Have a nice day.

    • Hey Mark,

      If you indeed have a true nerve impingement, the first step is to try to decompress the nerve.

      A simple stretch you can do is pull your head the opposite direction to where your impingement is.

      (ie. if your impingement is on the left side of your neck, stretch your neck towards the right as to feel a stretch on the left)

      You might need to play around with the angle as to which you pull your head to get the best stretch.

      Also, consider assessing if you have a forward head posture. I find this is quite common with people with nerve impingement in the neck.

      Check out the post: Forward head posture.

      This is a good place to start, but as I have not assessed you before, it is hard for me to get you specific exercises.

      Good luck.


  70. Hi Mark,

    you mentioned to feel the serratus anterior muscle, is to firstly, backwards, down and then round.

    The rounding step, is it the same as flaring the lats?

  71. Hi Mark,
    I have had winged scapula as long as I can remember. I’m 41 and having neck pain and headaches,I also have over developed traps that are very manly. Would some sort of brace help me with posture and stop my traps over compensating? Thanks.

    • Hi Emma,

      I am not aware of any posture braces that address winging specifically.

      Best way to go about is to get the serratus anterior to stabilise the scapula (as opposed to the upper trapezius)


  72. Hi there,
    Just found this, I think my left is winged and i was wondering if this could cause trap and rhomboid to overcompensate? I’ve had a lot of tension and issues with them on left side..
    Also, is there any time estimate you can give on how long it takes to fix a winged scapula?

    • Hey Elina,

      You are 100% correct.

      The traps and rhomboids can get a whole lot of tension when you have scapular winging.

      In terms of how long it’s going to take, it really depends!

      The main thing is to start and keep consistent with the exercises. The improvement will come :)


    • Hi I’m 13 years old and I’m into bodybuilding and I have a winged scalpture on my left and right back how long will it take for me to get a normal back or is it because I’m still young

    • Hey Liam,

      You have age on your side so it might not take as long as it would for someone who is older than you.

      It’s hard to give you an exact time frame as there are too many factors that influence how fast one improves their posture.


  73. Hi Mark , in most of the excercises you have mentioned to protract the scapula basically. When do we retract sacpula in normal excercises. Is there a place for that for good posture?

    • Once you have addressed your winged scapula, you eventually what to get to a stage where you are simultaneously contracting the muscles that protract and retract the shoulder blade. (Everything is in balance and neutral.)


  74. Hey Mark! I have a winged scapula on my left side and a normal one on my right, however after doing these exercises I noticed my serratus anterior is much more developed now on my LEFT side, yet the scapula is still winged. I also have rounded shoulders but could this mean I have damage to my thoracic nerve?

    • Hey Eden,

      Damage to the long thoracic nerve will result in the reduced ability to engage the serratus anterior.

      If you have no issues engaging it, your nerve is not likely to be damaged.

      If you can engage your serratus anterior, but still have a winged scapula, you might have strength, but lack control of the muscle.


  75. I have Ehlers-danlos and have shoulder instability and chronically dislocate. Is there a way for me to help the winging and slipping ribs?

    • Hi Tanya,

      With EDS, the main focus with you rehab will be on strengthening/stability exercises.

      The exercises mentioned in the post will be a good start for your Serratus anterior (which is vital in ideal scapula stability)


  76. OMG… Backwards, Down & around!! I have just this very day researched, by every keyword to remedy to my whiplash injury from 6months ago, found your site.

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU so very much for this simple guide. I have tried all kinds of stretches, exercises and so on. But this is just what I needed to get my core muscles strong and in sync again.

    You are now on my ‘favourite list’.

    All the best and thanks you again


  77. Hi Mark. I’m 30 and have been struggling with scapula winging for most of my life. I’ve been to numerous back doctors and physiotherapists who diagnosed me as such but none of their daily exercises (band pull aparts, side planks, etc) have been working.
    My neck and shoulders are so tense that I’ve lost my range of motion despite stretching daily.
    This is my fourth week of doing the first few exercises daily and I’m still not feeling anything in that muscle. I’m driving my shoulder blades down as hard as possible then moving them around my rib cage as instructed while pushing into my elbows. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong. I also have very poor posture that my doctor said was from being born extremely premature though I follow daily exercises from Dr Stuart McGill’s book and those have also not been successful.

    Thanks so much for any help you can give me. This has been a frustrating journey for me and I’m desperate to get better because my daily life has been drastically impacted. My arms and hands swell to the point that I’m unable to complete daily tasks easily.

    • Hi Nina,

      Is there any chance you have tested out your Long thoracic nerve (the nerve that supplies serratus anterior). If there are any issues with this nerve, it is going to be difficult to activate the muscle.

      If that is all clear, I would focus on relaxing/releasing the muscles that may be inhibiting the serratus anterior. Main muscles being the Pec minor, Upper traps, coracobrachialis, short head biceps.

      Another thing to consider is the shape of your thoracic spine. (eg. hunch back posture vs flat thoracic spine). This can impact the ability of the scapula to sit flat on the rib cage.


    • I know there is a KT tape that you can put on your shoulders and back for posture it might help with getting your shoulders in the right position you can look up on google and YouTube for different taping ideas for pain in different parts of your shoulder.

  78. I Mark! I’ve been reading your blog for a long time, I think it helped me a lot. I always feel my body is not balanced, especially when I am doing excecises. I diagnosed myself with a winged scapular in the right side, but my left side is good. So I tried the excercises in your blog, and I am feeling better now. But there is still one thing that bother me a lot. I took a video of my back, when I am moving my shoulder blades, although the right scapular doesn’t look winged a lot, their distance to the central line of my body is not the same. My right scaplar is always closer to the center line. Do you know how can I fix this? Also, when I am doing push ups, I can feel my right back participates more than my right chest, so my left chest is bigger than the right one. Do you think it’s related to my right scapular? Thanks!

    • Simply replying to see his reply as I have the EXACT same problem, and am just starting the above prescribed movements.

    • Hey there,

      It is common to have the Winged scapula closer to the mid line of the body.

      You will need to get the Serratus anterior to help lateral glide the scapula back into a better position. You may also need to release rhomboids.

      (The exercises should help with that)

      In regards to your push ups, uneven shoulder blades can result in one side being worked out more.

      Other factors that could also be contributing:
      – Scoliosis
      – Rotated torso
      – UNeven shoulder flexiblity


  79. Hi Mark!

    This is very helpful!
    I’m not quite sure what is going on with me. I do have poor posture and recently seem to have injured myself as I have pain in my right shoulder blade, neck, and chest. Additionally I have a dropped right shoulder and difficulty lifting my arm overhead and in front above shoulder height, Initially my doctor thought it was a rotator cuff injury but my PT says it is nerve compression in the neck. The one thing I keep getting hung up on though is my shoulder blade feels and looks somewhat winged and is tracking strangely. Upper body exercises involving my shoulder end up creating pain again. I keep suggesting I have a winged scapula. Does it sound like to you? This has been going on for 4 months now with limited range of motion and activity so I am feeling so frustrated as I am very active normally. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Lizzy,

      Your winged scapula could be causing your issues.. but it’s hard to say without a proper assessment.

      Is the shoulder blade pain the only thing that is limiting your arm lifting?


    • Do push-ups with the winged arm. Place the arm on the wall lick the wing to the rib and do one hand side way pushup – standing straight but your arm will be behind for the locking.. That strengthen the muscle so the more u do it the stronger it becomes.

  80. Hi Mark,
    Great post!
    I am 35 and have always had bad winged scpula. I am fairly athletic and go to the gym 3-4 times a week. I’ve only recently started to make a concerted effort to correct my winged scapula.
    How often do you recommend I do these exercises?

  81. Hi Mark,

    I have developed a winged scapula in both shoulders following damage to my thoracic nerve after child birth. This has been confirmed filling a nerve test at my local hospital. I have been referred for physio which I am currently awaiting an appointment so coming across your website and exercises has been brilliant. I was just wondering, if I was to complete these exercises on a regular basis, in your professional opinion how long does it take for the scapula to return to a normal position?

    Many thanks


    • Hi Nicole,

      It really depends on how much activity you have in that serratus anterior.

      The long thoracic nerve can be affected in varying degrees when damaged.


  82. I have over developed neck muscles (likely levaror scapula) from over extending my shoulder forward playing guitar that causes a dull ache at the base of my neck and arm fatigue. In addition to correction the incorrect postural behavior, will these exercises help reverse the development of my neck muscles?

  83. My winged scapula is the result of long thoracic nerve damage/palsy. I’ve had this condition for several years, tried physical therapy a couple of times, and the exercises I’ve found online don’t seem to help. Now I’ve read “somewhere” that stretching the serratus anterior muscle is not advised if the winged scapula is due to nerve damage.
    What exercises, if any, would be beneficial for me? And would rowing be advised or not?

    Thank you,

    • Hey Ed,

      Any of the exercises mentioned on the blog post will be good for you.

      With long thoracic nerve damage, it may be difficult to regain full function of the serratus anterior. However- I would still strongly recommend to keep persisting with the exercises to engage whatever fibres you can.


  84. Hi Mark… my daughter(13 yr old)broke her collarbone(tripped by team mate at soccer practice) a little over 2 months and about 2 weeks in I noticed her shoulder blade on that(left) side sticks out a lot. I told the doctor since then and all he says is that it will fix itself. Now more than 2 months after she broke it still sticks out. I am worried that it won’t fix even though the doctor doesn’t think it’s a big deal. It bugs her asay times it gets stuck on the chairs. What can we do to get it to heal? Or will it stay like that? Is it Scapular winging?

    • Hi Elizeria,

      Sounds like she was likely in a sling for a prolonged amount of time. This position tends to shorten the pec minor muscle (muscle at the chest) which then tips the shoulder blade forward.

      This results in a shoulder blade the sticks out.

      Stretching out the pec minor and strengthening the lower trap muscle (between shoulder blade) should address this.


  85. I struggle with neck pain to the right side for almost 10 years. And I discovered it probably comes from my shoulder. I notice the right shoulder is rounded forward. So I tried the exercises for rounded shoulders, but every time when I use strength with my right shoulder, all the muscles get tight again. Then I need to do a lot of release work to loosen up. When I release my back and shoulder, the pain on the back of my neck subsides. But then the front feels tight, including the scm muscle. So I seem to be zig zagging in tension between the front and the back. Then I discovered overhead movements really tighten my shoulder all and around, even downward dog seems to mesh with my shoulder. So I figured doing the scapular winging exercises will help to strengthen my serratos anterior to facilitate a scapular posterior tilt. This seems to work, but my pec minor very tight. If I succeed in fully releasing and stretching the pec minor, the neck pain can be completely gone. But it slowly returns. And even faster when I use protraction force, for example in planking. I focus on down and around the rib cage, but the pec minor tightens so fast. It is like I have to start all over again. I wonder if I am on the right path and if I should continue the cycles to strengthening and releasing the shoulder? Strangely enough my left shoulder is very strong and I never have to stretch or release anything on the left.
    Best regards,

    • Hi Anthony,

      If you have are finding good relief with pec minor releases, I would focus on this.

      This will help other muscles such as the serratus anterior to help keep your scapula in a better position.

      If you tend to find the pec minor tightens up fast, it is likely you are using a strategy where your pec minor is primarily used to stabilise your shoulder blade.

      You will need to focus on exercises that posterior tilt +/- depress the scapula WITHOUT over recruiting the pec minor. This can be achieve by doing the same exercises mentioned on the post, but at a much lesser intensity.


  86. Hey Mark! Thanks so much for your help. I’m studying to become a doctor physical therapy, and I’m having a lot of pain medial to my scapula. It’s probably coming from the poor postural habits I have (sitting and studying for hours). I really appreciate your resources, thanks again!

  87. hi mark
    can you tell me your clinic address or number.I live in New Jersey. I am having pain in medial border and inferior angle of lt side scapula.I need assessment can you help me in that.if not please suggest me something in New Jersey,(jersey city)

  88. i have tried all the exercises to train and strengthen the serratus but problem hasnt solved yet
    do you think it might be a long thoracic nerve issue if so what would you recommend

  89. I have this problem of winged scapula and appreciate this article. Mark, if you can comment, I would like to know what is the best pillow for back sleeping. I have tried a 2″ high decorative pillow and then just a rolled towel at my neck only and nothing gets me comfortable. Also i have some nerve pain in arm and hand which i think this is causing, and it seems to be along the ulnar path or last fingers as well as intermittently in the arm, Thank you!

    • Hi Kay See,

      The height of pillow is generally linked to the position of your head. The more forward it is (see: Forward head posture), the more support it will require to prevent your neck from kinking back.

      In regards to Ulnar nerve issues at night time, make sure you do NOT sleep with your arms in the flexed position. Keep them as straight as possible.


  90. Hi Mark

    I’ve stretched out my Pec Minor completely, which helped me get my left shoulder blade in a better spot. However, my left shoulder blade is still constantly snapping, it’s like my rhomboids and/or some other back muscle is causing this issue. Could tight rhomboids cause winged scapula? I mean it’s an antagonist muscle of the serratus. And if so, what can I do to fix it? I am having an issue to stand up straight in good posture due to my left shoulder blade kind of blocking me from doing so, it’s almost like it’s too close to my spine.



    • Hi Leo,

      It will be more difficult to activate the serratus anterior without a long thoracic nerve intact.

      If there is any contraction (even if it is a little bit), you can get the muscle stronger.


  91. i think that there is scapular winging on my left part.there is no pain but i feel it sticking out .i think i have rounded shoulder too but its all on left onlyCan u tell me how to balance all muscles on my left.there is overuse of neck muscles too.

  92. Hi! I stumbled on your site and I must say it looks like an excellent resource, thank you! Question – once we progress from one level to the other, do we perform all exercises cumulatively or just in that particular level? For example if I can do all the exercises in level 1 and progress to level 2, should I be doing exercises a through i, or just g through i?

    Also do you recommend doing multiple sets of each exercise?

    Thanks for your great resource!

    • Hey Emily,

      You want to stick to the more challenging exercises. You can use the simpler exercises as a warm up if you would like.

      In terms of sets, go to failure! More the merrier really.


  93. Hi mark, loving this blog, as a long time computer user i am finding out i have other things as well as a winged scapula.

    Can i send you a picture on email to confirm i have scapula winging?

    also is shoulder instability and impingement common to have along with the winging, it hurts to use mouse ( winged side ) at the computer and shoulder feels out of the joint.. need help


  94. Dear Mark,

    My 84 year old mother has a right shoulder winged scapula, since past 10 days she is in a lot of pain in the morning. which exercise should I try on her, and for how long in a day.

    Thank you.


    • I have rounded shoulders so should I stretch the pec minor every single day and when to do it ?
      During workout or before workout as dynamic stretching?

    • Hey Aryan,

      Stretching pec minor will help the downward pull that is responsible for rounded shoulders.

      You can do it before, during and after a work out.


  95. Hi Mark,
    I have had this issue for a few years now I think, maybe since around 2015 – at first I thought it as was problem with my bicep as my GP thought it might be torn, but I recently realised it was probably scapular winging. I believe it probably started due to an extremely tight pec minor, though I have worked a lot on releasing it recently and it does seem to have helped a fair bit. The exercises, after the first 4-5 days or so of doing them a bit does seem to have helped a lot as well – though I still lack power. My question is how do i know if I have nerve damage, if it is serious/hat steps should I take? If I can perform the excercises on here, and they do seem to help, then does that mean that I do not have nerve damage? Also, I have a thumb that has felt kind of tingly/numb since I started these excercises – is that an indication of nerve damage or something else?

    Thanks in advance, sorry for the long post

    • Hi Zak,

      You can get nerve tests to determine if the long thoracic nerve specifically being impacted. However- I find simple muscle tests of the serratus anterior can give a good indication if the nerve is ok.

      You want to try to avoid any tingling in the thumb with these exercises. This usually means the nerve is getting squashed some where! You might need to backtrack a bit to identify which exact exercise that might be causing it and changing the way that you do it.


  96. In more than 50% of cases I am unable to activate my serratus anterior and my wing just goes on sticking more than ever during my attempts to do the exercises.

  97. thanks for all your articles! You are really helpful to society.

    But I am confused: I have rounded shoulders and winged scapula at the same time.

    In the rounded shoulders article, you say to that Serratus anterior is too tight, should I still try to make it stronger to help with winged scapula ?
    Also, the push-ups would strengthen the pectorals: is it compatible with rounded shoulders and hunchback ?

    • Hi Henry,

      Not all people with rounded shoulders will have a tight serratus anterior.

      But also – a tight serratus can also be weak at the same time.

      I would still try to strengthen the serratus anterior regardless if it is tight or not in the case of scapula winging.

      Push up will strengthen the chest, but if you do it from a neutral position, this is completely fine to continue.


    • After one month of using your exercices, my overall posture greatly improved!

      What is your opinion about the “triceps dip” exercise to strengthen lower trapezes and serratus anterior ?

    • Great to hear that your posture is getting better, Henry!

      Tricep dips are awesome. If you perform them properly, you can definitely strengthen the lower traps and seratus anterior.


  98. Hi Mark. Thank you so much for these great exercises. I have a question. What is the best sleeping position for someone who has a winged scapula? I sleep on my sides most of the time but when i do my scapula really sticks out i can touch it. Should i sleep on my back?

    • Hi been dealing with a sore shoulder scapula and numbing of hand on right side Been like this for a couple months had therapy but am going to try these exercises. Is this the cause of my numbing fingers??

    • Hi Shelley,

      Numbing of the hands could be a symptom of a nerve being pinched.

      This impingement usually occurs in the neck, between tight muscles on the side of the neck, between the 1st rib and collar bone or under tight pec muscles.

      Scapula Winging may predispose to things mentioned above.


  99. Hi Mark. Thank you for the great exercises. I have a question. What’s the best sleeping position for someone who has scapula winging? Is it on the back?

  100. Hi Mark,
    I’ve been suffering from winged-scapula for months and didn’t realize it, likely stemming from nerve block from rotator cuff surgery some months ago. My surgeon was ready to take me through another grueling procedure to remove scar tissue in my shoulder. I’ve finally learned that its not scar tissue I’ve been struggling with – its been my shoulder blade all along!
    I tried all of the stretching/exercises you listed on your web page and I made more progress in 3-4 ‘days’ than I have in the last 5-to-6 MONTHS of Physical Therapy… I was not the ‘standard protocol’ patient, but found they only follow that-protocol, which was doing more damage-than-good for so, so long. Its still a work-in-progress, but I feel more confidence now that I’m finally on a good-path to better recovery and feel more encouraged now than I have for months! THANKS for posting your info – it certainly helped me!

  101. Hi, my name is Blake. I am 23, I am 6’3 and I have a slew of issues going on from playing basketball as well as running track collegiately. Most recently I ran, jumped, threw and hurdled as a decathlete, we also performed a great deal of powerlifting including snatch, cleans, low squatting, and more. I’ve always trained back and legs, yet my pecs have always been over developed. I always tried to keep my shoulder back and had anterior pelvic tilt. I always had hip and shoulder pain especially in my right shoulder, but left hip. Since then I’ve been diagnosed with a torn labrum in my left hip, and my right scapula is SICK, or in diskenesis. My left hip feels hiked, as far as I can tell with the tests from your lateral pelvic tilt page. The QL stretch kills on the left side being stretched compared to the right being stretched. However, my right shoulder only appears lower, but really I believe it is rolled forward with an inward rotated humerus, so I guess it is consistent with the kinetic chain pictures. I am having a difficult time determining which foot has a collapsed arch, but I think it is my left arch, even though that is the hiked hip. That left ankle has mobility issues in comparison to my right because of many ankle sprains.

    I know that’s a lot of info, I can’t imagine the amount of help you provide others. The misinformation in coaching at high school levels alone astounded me; but once I began studying kinesiology while running at Michigan State, I realized even some of my collegiate coaches were misinformed.

    • Is it possible my legs are different lengths? I have been tested for that negatively multiple times, but why would my left arch collapse and my left hip hike, rather than drop with that foot?

    • Hi Blake,

      If you have been tested multiple times and they have all been negative, then it is unlikely that you have a true structural leg length discrepancy.

      You can get a left arch collapse regardless of what side pelvic tilt you have. If you have a left lateral pelvic tilt with left foot arch collapse, I would also do foot strengthening for that side as well. (esp. if you have had multiple ankle sprains on this side)

      You can also have a lower right shoulder with a left lateral tilt. This means that either your shoulder is being pulled down by the shoulder blade muscles and/or your spine has counter tilted to the other side.


  102. hi mark im 15 years old and i think ive had winged scapula for years but i realise it makes me weaker in my sport and training
    do you have a regime for how long i should be doing these exercises as in how many times per week
    should give it rest days or not????
    please respond quick :)

  103. I stopped swimming because of scapular winging. Almost one year of rehabilitation did not helped me (it helped me in short term i did not feel pain but u still felt discomfort in back.) I feel pain under scapula and there (on the botton of scapula) i have scapular winging. I also have scoliosis(i asume it is product of scapular winging). I am doing this exercises for really long and i did not notice big diffrence. My triceps and biceps on the hand that i have scapular wingig are tight and i dont know what is cause of that especialy triceps that i feel tightness around elbow. How fix that and how make this exercises to work for me?
    Thanks for making this article.

  104. Hello Mark,

    I have a winged left scapula and am very grateful for These exercises do you think its okay to keep training the pain is just minor to my left front delt and my trap is slightly tight. should I just focus on the stretching before I go back to lifting Heavy?

    • Hey Ryan,

      Try to avoid training into the pain.

      If you push it too far at the gym, it may make a simple injury become a much more complex problem.


  105. Hi Mark,

    I have some problems with my posture, winged scapula and also scoliosis, may I somehow contact you, I would like to learn some tips in order to fix these problems, that are affecting my every day life?


  106. Mark thank you so much for showing us these exercises. I’d like to ask you some questions about my shoulders and scapula because i am having some problems with them. How can I contact you?


  107. Hi Mark!
    My name is Mikael Moronta I’m 16 years old, 6’1 feet tall, and weight around 160 lb. I have my two wings exposed on resting position. They have never caused me pain or any type of problem, they are just horrendous to look at. I think I have had them for my entire life. Are they there because I’m too skinny or because I need to do this exercises. I already work out three times a week but I really want to get rid of this wings.

    Thanks for reading I hope to hear from you soon!

    • Hi Mikael,

      Being skinny would not cause your scapula to wing, however, it can make it more apparent.

      See how you go with these exercises :)


  108. Hi Mark! Great article. I’m 16 years old, 6’2 feet tall and weight around 160. I have had this “wings” as long as I can remember. Do I have to do these exercises to fix it or they just show because I’m too skinny?

  109. I have a severe winged scapula on my right side. At first they thought a torn rotator cuff. But after an MRI the ortho thought I had damage to my long thoracic nerve. Either from a fall I had in October or maybe just overuse working in the oilfield. Been doing pt for two weeks. Should I get an emt test to make sure the nerve is damaged and how badly? I feel like pt isn’t going to accomplish anything if serratus anterior isn’t getting impulses from the nerve. Thought about trying a chiropractor, thoracic outlet surgery, TENS therapy, decompression micro neeolysis, interferential current, scapular bracing. Already doing most of the exercises u have mentioned. I’m very active person. If I’m not at work or playing with my kids I’m lifting weights(p90x type workouts). Having no timeline for recovery is the worst part.

    • Hey Wingman,

      I would get your long thoracic nerve tested as without nerve innervation, it was will very difficult to engage the serratus anterior muscle if no signals are going through.

      Even so, I would still continue with these exercises regardless of nerve damage or not.


  110. Hi Mark,
    Thanks a lot for the reply.Yes I have knocked knees.Iam already following the exercises given by you to fix knocked knees. Do I need to do some other exercises also to fix my problem of lateralisation of patella in left knee ? My doctor told me to strengthen VMO ‘s . Are the exercises given by you enough to strengthen the VMO ‘s or do I need to do some extra work for that. Thanks a lot again.

  111. Hi Mark,
    I have been diagnosed with lateralisation of patella in my left knee and I think I have the same problem in my right knee also.I have to get MRI done to confirm it . can you please help me out with what exercises and stretches I need to follow to correct my knees without surgery. Thanks.

  112. HI MARK . i have recntly started having pain around my shoulder blades mostly under the blades or on the side next to my spinal cord.Could you please tell me what exactly to do?


  113. Hi Mark,
    Thank you for making this website

    For a number of reasons, I’ve had bad posture most of my life, but in the last year and half I have had what I believe is a winged scapula on the left side, primarily from a sports injury; over extending it during a dragon boat race. The source of pain seems to be right underneath the winged piece and it burns 24/7. Sometimes it’s mild and many other times it is worse. Most of the stretching and exercise techniques I’ve been given by several specialists seem to only inflame the area more, so I have trouble sticking with a routine. I’m open to trying some low impact stretches, but do you have any additional recommendations as well?:

    * How can I rest it properly?
    * Is taping a good form of relief therapy?
    * What’s the best position to sleep in? as well as mattress & pillow type?
    * Any dietary tips? foods/drinks/vitamins/minerals to help or to avoid?
    * Why does it seem like it’s not healing, even after more than a year?
    * Do you know of any procedures or surgeries that are effective for this sort of thing?

    I realize some some of these questions may be beyond your area of study, so I understand if you are unable to advise on all, but I’ve been suffering for so long and I just want this injury to heal and am willing to explore any viable option

    Thank you very much for your time

    • Hey E,

      For some symptomatic relief, have a look at the exercises on this post: Shoulder blade pain.

      * How can I rest it properly?
      Avoid any activities or positions that cause the pain until you have found out exactly what’s causing it.

      * Is taping a good form of relief therapy?
      It can be the position of your scapula is off.

      * What’s the best position to sleep in? as well as mattress & pillow type?
      I am big on sleeping on the back due to symmetry, however, you can sleep on your side as well. In terms of pillow and mattress, that one is hard to answer as everyone is different. But have a look at this post: Best sleeping posture for some more ideas.

      * Any dietary tips? foods/drinks/vitamins/minerals to help or to avoid?
      This falls outside my expertise :) A nutritionist would be the best person to talk to. I recommend magnesium to some of my patients if they are suffering from cramping muscles.

      * Why does it seem like it’s not healing, even after more than a year?
      It is very likely that you have not found the main driver causing your pain. Also – you are probably still doing things that are making it worse at the same time.

      * Do you know of any procedures or surgeries that are effective for this sort of thing?
      Nope! I try to avoid surgery at all cost (if possible)

      Hope this helps.


  114. Hey Mark I can’t thank you enough for this, I have always been made fun of because of the winging my body does. I’m currently about to start your exercises and I’m wondering how long it typically takes to feel the difference :)

  115. Hi there Mark,

    I have scoliosis and I believe it is the cause for my right winged scapula (I’ve been told by a Chiropractor). I just want to find out if it is fixable by means of these exercises or would I be wasting my time.

    Thank you so much for all the info!

  116. Hi Mark. From my young age i have winged scapulla and that has as a result to rounded shoulders. I was a swimmers for many years and now i lift weights at the gym and i have pain in my one shoulder where the scapulla is worse. First of all do you know what is that pain which is in the front of the shoulder and second what i must do to fix it?? Start with winged scapula or rounded shoulders??

    • Hi Aristotelis,

      Front shoulder pain could be anything! But here is some brain storming for you:
      – Long head biceps
      – Subscapularis
      – Supraspinatus/Infraspinatus
      – Anterior deltoid
      – Bursitis
      – Latissimus/pec major tendon

      Not sure if that helps, but it gives you the general idea that there are many structures there that can get injured to due a poorly functioning shoulder blade.

      If you have both scapula winging AND rounded shoulders, you can start on either really.. But I generally go for the winging.


  117. I am wondering if these exercises will do anything for me if I DO have long thracic nerve palsy? My issue has been ongoing since mid June 2017 and is still very prevalent today. I have done all the exercises and even got on of those electrode deals (name is escaping me right now) to purposefully wake up the serratus anterior muscles. To say this journey has been disheartening would be an understatement. I was able to get a referral for an EMG but neurologist is booking out to May 2018…. not the news I was hoping for. Any insight would be appreciated. Thanks.

    • Hi Natalie,

      It is very difficult (perhaps not even possible) to engage the serratus anterior if you do not have the nerve innervation to the muscle.

      If there is still some electrical signal going through and if you are persistent over time, there is a chance you can still get that serratus anterior muscle firing off.


  118. Hey man, love the exercises, I can really feel the contractions. However I also have issues with rounded (internally rotated shoulders) and whenever I activate my serratus anterior it feels like I’m also training my shoulders to be internally rotated. How do I prevent this and does training the serratus antagonistic to training external rotation using the rotator cuffs.

    • Hey Jack,

      That’s awesome that you can feel your serratus anterior firing off now.

      The next step is to engage your serratus anterior (“push out your shoulder blade”) AND rhomboids “pull in your shoulder blades”… at the same time. (easier said than done)

      Make sure they are balanced.

      This should help you with your rounded shoulders.

      Once you have figured this balance out among the muscles controlling the position of the scapula, I would then added rotator cuff strengthening on top of that.


  119. Hi Mark,

    I am 24 and have had a bad posture since day 1. I have been attempting to fix it but have so many issues to be worked on along side one another. However, when it comes to activating the serratus anterior my scapula naturally wing. I have tried to do roll them down and around the ribs, but have bad no luck. Is this how my body activates the serratus anterior, or am I doing it wrong?

    Thanks for your great website by the way!

    • Hey Patrick,

      Activation of the serratus anterior should pin and wrap that shoulder blade to the rib cage.

      Most common reason for what you have described is that you may not be activating your actual serratus anterior. (ie. your activating other muscle/s)

      You might need to try out different ways of activating it using different exercises.


    • Hi mark..can uh please tellme what causes winging of scapula and what causes damage to nerves

  120. Hi Mark,
    I have winged scapulas, rounded shoulders, neck issues as well as shoulder pain. I think it’s all related. As I’ve been trying to correct all of this. I notice an overall increase in tension, especially in my neck. I figured behaviorally addressing the posture would be the most important. But I’m wondering if I should only be vigilant about it maybe every other day so my body can catch up. What do you think? My traps feel pretty knotty all the way up to the base of my skull since trying to improve posture.

    • Hi Natalie,

      What you have described is very common.

      Although it is quite normal to feel a bit of an ache after performing these exercises as your muscles are unaccustomed to being worked out, you want to aim to maintain a better posture as NATURAL, GENTLE and using as little muscle effort as possible.

      The usual reason this occurs is that you are probably forcing certain exercises/movements/postures which people generally feel that they need to do.

      My advice – Go gentle. Focus on releases/stretches to make the movement easier. Only stick to exercise where you can keep your neck relaxed.

      Let me know how it goes!


    • I literally have the exact same problems so I was wondering if you have found a solution to these, I’ve had to drop all my contact sports due to extreme pain and weakness and constant cracks and knots

  121. Hi Mark

    19 years old here. I have some scapular winging on my left side of my back, which seems to be more rounded as well. My left shoulder used to be very elevated compared to my right shoulder, but it has almost been fixed. However, my left shoulder blade is still sticking out and is constantly snapping, do you know what the cause(s) could be? Badly wanna fix it since it has made me lose some cm, and it doesn’t look really nice to have that hunched appearance either.

    Also thanks for the rich information you provide on this website.

    • Hey Kasra,

      It sounds like your muscle (probably middle traps would be my guess) is causing your snapping sound which I assume you experience when you rolls your shoulders backwards?

      I usually find this due the elongated muscle fibres as a result of rounded shoulders.

      Take a look at this post:
      How to fix rounded shoulders.


  122. Hi Mark

    Thanks for the article. I have suffered with left sided scapular winging for some time. Whenever I bicep curl I feel my left shoulder tilt anteriorly and feel pain below the medial tip of the scapular. Also whenever I try to do any rowing movement I can’t seem to fully contract the lower trapezius. I feel like my serratus and lower trapezius aren’t functioning correctly. Besides these exercises and trying to release my lower pecs, do you have any other suggestions?


    • Hey Sam,

      You can try releasing short head biceps and coracobrachialis which both are used in elbow flexion AND anterior tilting of the scapula. They be over active and/or you are recruiting them too much.


      Short head biceps

      If you have issues only on the left side, I would be looking at your posture. Are you rotated? Shoulder level? Leaning to one side? etc. This may encourage you to use the wrong muscles when curling.

      If it is just a matter of lower trap activation issues, I would focus on lower trap isolation exercises without weight.

      You could also consider doing partial range of motion training. THat is- when bicep training, only bend your elbow as far as you can keep your shoulders in the desired position.


    • Hi Mark, do you have any suggestions on how best to release these muscles? These are tight for me and when I flex elbow and go into plank position etc they get tighter and restrict movement.

      Thanks, your posts and advice are so helpful.

  123. Are all of these stretches achievable with bilateral winged scapula?? I am desperate to fix this issue. I am a single mom and a domestic abuse survivor that is in need of fixing my “chicken wings” as my toddler calls them. Please help!

  124. Hi Mark

    Thanks so much for this post, finally feel the serratus activate when doing the wall press!

    Couple questions. I have only mild winging, but how long do you expect it takes to start to see improvement? Secondly, and sort of linked, my winging is extremely prominent when doing any chest or bicep exercises. I feel like the moment I have weight tilt my scapular anteriorly it just gives way. Is there anything I should do on top of these exercises to break this mind muscle link. I struggle to “find” the serratus unless my arms are overhead, pushing the tilt more posterior.

    Thanks for your information

  125. Great article again. What are your opinions on prolotherapy for awekinign the SA? My scapular wining doesn’t improve well afer months of physical therapy.

    • Hi Celil,

      I personally haven’t seen prolotherapy injections help re-engage/activate certain muscles.

      Have you been tested for Long thoracic nerve issues? If there is an issue with this nerve, it may present as difficulty/inability to engage the serratus anterior muscles.


  126. Hello mark,

    So basically a few months ago I broke my clavical playing football. Ever since it has healed my left shoulder blade appears to be incredibly winged. Would these exercises help even with that bone healed the way it has?

    • Hey David,

      Did the clavicle heal in the correct place?

      If it didn’t – it may be the cause of your now winged scapula.

      If there was good healing in the correct position, it is likely that some of your muscles (especially pec minor) may have compensated for the pain in the shoulder region resulting in the winged position.


  127. Hey Mark,
    Thank you for your explanations and suggestions, they are very helpful.

    I have a winging scapula due to a fall that also broke my collar bone. It has be over 10 years and I am struggling with the pain in my back. I had a surgery to fix my collar bone and is well and perfectly healed. However I suffer from back muscle pain (around my right scapula) continuously and I am starting to get really concerned with my ability to care for kids as my husband and I are trying. Can anything be done surgically?

  128. Hey Mark, i’m in my mid teens and I think i have winged scpaular, i do workout often. Could my winged scpaular be linked to a strong front and a weak back (I negelected back traing untill now). What are the best sleeping postitions to fix this and will it fix itself by doing backworkouts. I have done these exersises for about 2 weeks and nothing changes. If i just do back workouts twice a week will that work? How long does this problem take becuase i feel ashamed of m body despite being realitvly muscular. Pease help:)

  129. My left shoulder blade is winged out. I also have osteoarthritis in the left shoulder which I suspect is what’s caused the shoulder blade to wing out! The stretches were easy to do as I can sit to do them but the ones standing or lying down are completely impossible to do (I also have OA in the left knee). Would the stretches be enough? Are there other exercises I could do?

    • Hi Rose,

      Focus on the exercise you can do. It is very unlikely that you can do ALL of them to begin with.

      As you improve, you can progress to the harder ones.


  130. Hi there !
    I have winged scapula and I’m 15 years old.
    Don’t you do videos ?!
    I really want to get rid of this because I wanted to join Indian Navy.
    Please help me !

  131. Mark,

    I have been weight lifting for awhile and have a strong back, but seems like I have been working on my chest more than my back. I get pain in the shoulder blades only when I pull my scapula back and down and try to do one of these excercises. Is that normal, will the pain go away as the serratus gets stronger? Feels like a tight tight pain, I tried rolling out and stretching all these area before doing the excercises, but doesn’t seem to help. Just want to know if you have heard the same?
    Thank you.

    • It is in the same area on the pic you have up on your, SHOULDER BLADE PAIN page. Only difference is it travels up to my trap when I try to pull my neck back, and when I try to do side raises, it will travel around my rear delt area. It all feels like it is just really tight and won’t release.

  132. Hello Mark, This article may be a godsend for me. I am 33 and have had 3 shoulder surgeries. I tore my labrum 2x from softball injuries and had another surgery due to persisting pain in the shoulder (shoulder debridement). Needless to say I have had pain in my bicep tendon in front of my shoulder for 6 years. I recently went for a 2nd opinion and the doctor recommended a Bicep Tendonesis Surgery due to a possible failed SLAP repair. Currently the surgery is scheduled for January but I am having reservations. I have a winged scapula and rounded shoulders. Do you think it is possible that my bicep pain can be mitigated without surgery if I correct these issues? Thank you!

    • Hi Jackie,

      I am going to say it is possible!

      Always try every conservative route before considering surgery.

      Fixing your rounded shoulders and winged scapula may take some load off your biceps tendon.

      However… Since the Long head biceps attached directly into the labrum/capsule of the shoulder, your tendon is essentially functioning from a probable unstable foundation. This may make it very difficult for the biceps to get stronger without flaring up.

      All the best!


  133. Hey mark i think a have got a winged scapula and it looks terrible! It’s been 3 months since i joined the gym but just yesterday i came to know of such things winging out while my frnd witnessed it! Do u suggest i should leave the gym !! These exercise will help right! Plz reply a guy in need i am just 19

    • Hey Mo,

      If you would like to fix your Winged Scapula, I would focus on these exercises first.

      When you are able to maintain a better position of your scapula, you can then challenge it with the gym.


  134. Hi
    When i try activate my srratus anterior i feel strain and little bit of pain between my shoulder blades ,like around the spine from both sides. Is this normal?

  135. Hi Mark,
    My name is Jordan. I am 17 years old and I started wrestling at my school like 2 months ago, and I’ve been trying everything to fix my winged scapula, me and my parents don’t know how I got it, but I really want to make both sides of my body equal in size and strength.
    I only have it on the left side of my body whereas my right side of my body is fully developed and strong. Do you have any suggestions or tips that could help me?

    • I’m doing great with them, after I finish all of them I feel great, and I really feel the muscles I barely use during practice being worked better with the Serratus Anterior Activation excercises.

    • Hey Jordan,

      Keep up the good work with the serratus anterior activation exercises.

      These will help keep your shoulder blade flat on your ribs.

      You want to progress to the harder levels as you get better!


  136. Wow,
    I can’t tell you have much I appreciate this article. I’m 17 and for a few years now I have been plagued by static winged scapula on both sides. I’ve looked and many YouTube videos and even went to a physical therapist for a sports related neck injury. They gave me resistance bands for strengthening my neck and back muscles saying the exercises they gave me would help fix my winged scapula. However, they didn’t tell me anything about activating my serratus anterior and none of the exercises seemed to be strengthening that muscle. Your article helped me discover how to activate this muscle so I can strengthen it and alerted me to the fact that I have tight neck muscles as well. Now I feel like I have somewhere to start and a clear path to eliminating my winged scapula!
    Thanks again,

    Ya Boi

    • Hi Kate,

      If you can feel the muscle whilst is contracting in the general area on your ribs, that is a definite sign.

      If you are not sure, you can place your other hand on the serratus and see if you can feel it engage then.

      Another sure sign is if your scapula actually stops winging, then you know your serratus is definitely switched on!


  137. Hi Mark,

    I just got out of an appt with my ortho surgeon. I’m afraid my winged scapula could be from a damaged long thoraic nerve. Do you think these exercises could help even if the winging stems from a damaged LTN? What about if the LTN is permanently damaged (idk if this is the case, I may have to get an EMG to determine that)?

    • Hi Charlie,

      You will need an EMG to check it that LTN is damaged.

      I would still recommend doing these exercises as your LTN may not be 100% affected. (which means you should still be able to recruit your serratus anterior)


  138. Hi mark, for the past 5 months I’ve had SEVERE winging scapula, so severe that my wings stick out really far, and it really bothers me. My question is how long will I need to do these excersizes for, and can u recommend me excersizes that have more effect?
    Thank you

    • Hey Zaid,

      How long will it take? It really depends! (Very hard question to answer tbh)

      The exercises on the blog post are the best ones that I know of for winged scapula.

      What happened 5 months ago?


  139. Hi Mark,
    Just want to thank you for the article! I have had a winged scapula for months and received some PT exercises but I never got any cues on how to tell if I was activating my serratus anterior. So I wasn’t doing the exercises right and didn’t get any relief from my pain. Now that I can feel the muscle activating I am sure I will see some progress!

  140. Hi Mark, can it be 1 or the other, lack of flexibility/bad posture or lack of muscle?
    I have experimented with the excerises some and feel that the resistance and strengthening excersizes are pretty easy. I workout frequently and when I engage the muscle S. Anterior it feels pretty well developed. Should I focus more on the stretching? That has always been much more of a weakness for me.

    In addition is there a timeline that I should expect to see results in assuming I am doing the excersizes daily?

    • Hey Ryan,

      If your serratus anterior is strong and you can control it through full range and you still have winging, then I would focus on releasing/lengthening the tight muscles that are pulling your shoulder blade out of it’s appropriate position.


  141. Hi Mark,

    What are your thoughts on weight-lifting or body-building while trying to fix a mildly winged scapula? My shoulders are not rounded at all and my winging isn’t severe. Are there any body parts (I assume other than legs) that I can continue to lift with while attempting to reverse my winged scapula? If so, would it benefit me to perform the winged scapula stretches and exercises before or after a weight-lifting or body-building workout? Thank you for posting these stretches and exercises!

    • Hey Josh,

      I would encourage you to continue with your weight training… as long as you are consciously and successfully activating the right muscles to minimise your winging.

      If you find that your winging is more prominent with certain exercises no matter what you do, I would then minimise your exposure to these particular exercises and focus on the ones that you can control your scapula properly.

      I would do these exercises before your weight training as to prime and warm up the muscles that reverse winging.


  142. Hi Mark,

    If I don’t do this workouts but I do workouts like Deadlift and Bent over row are they going to go away?. If not, can you tell me some back workouts that I can do instead of these ones?

  143. hey Mark
    When I was a teenager I was wrongly practicing now I suffer from scapular winging , rounded soulders , forward head … andmy upper back is curved a little
    Should I fix them all at once or should I treat them in order? if yes give me an appropriate arrangement please .

  144. Thanks for the information, very good article!
    Any experience on having these symptoms as well as associated Lat muscle pain?
    Also, is there any way to incorporate a lacrosse ball or foam roller effectively?

    • Hey Petie,

      If your shoulder stabilising muscles are not doing their job (which is quite common in winged scapula), then other muscles like your lats may be recruited to help stabilise the shoulder joint instead. This could potentially lead to pain in this region.

      You can foam roll the lats quite easily as shown below.


  145. Hey Mark !
    Thank you for all this tips … well i have this problem of winging scapula and it makes my back looks worst even if i workout and have a muscles in my back . Can i do these exercises everyday ? And how long it takes me to fix it ? Thanks again

    • Hi Amine,

      You can do these exercise everyday.

      If scapula winging is causing you issues, you really want to fix this problem first before you start working out as it can make the problems worse.


  146. Hi Mark,

    I have scapular winging on both sides, but to different degrees, if I just do the exercises on both sides the same amount will it even itself out eventually?

  147. Great information. I’m going to start doing these exercise. I’ve always had winged scapula and I never knew it wasn’t normal until I took Kinesiology a couple semesters ago! I’ve had to wait until after I had [ C5/C6] disk replacement (I had a snow plow crash into my car while I was driving, so there was PT, surgery, and recovery) before I could start working on anything. Thanks for the great info!

  148. Hey Mark.
    I have a severe case of winged scapula it seems. Stronger than most things I find on the internet. I think this may be related to my size and weight. (196cm an only 66 kilos). Im going to the gym and trying to better my body on all levels, should i see a doctor about my scapula? Could there be anything so wrong that not even your tips can help? Or will this help me 100%? (dont wanna make anything worse either)

  149. Hi Mark. I’ve suffered with scapular winging for about 8 years now. At the time the doctor that originally saw me said that he was calling it shoulder dysfunction so he really didn’t know what it was.

    That said they were saying that they thought that my thoracic nerve was “asleep.” Is there true, real hope for me?

    Thank you!

    • Hey Eric,

      Is there any reason why your long thoracic nerve would be injured/compressed? (Past injuries, traumatic accidents, etc)

      If not – it is likely that you just need to learn to activate the muscles the flatten the scapulae back onto the ribs.


  150. Hi Mark,

    I have winged scapula from doing push-ups and dips with bad form once I correct this. Will I ever be able to do strength training again with proper form or will my scapula re wing ?
    Thank you for this great article,

    • Hey Massimo,

      Once you fix your winging, you can focus on your strength training again whilst making sure you are keep your scapula flat on your ribs.


  151. Hi mark,Thank you about this information you write..
    Im 21 yrs old
    one year ago I have been doing surgery (biopsy) of Lymphocyte biopsy in my neck after-after the surgery- a month of resting I felt my shoulder movement is so bad and then I went to the doctor and he told me that I have a “winging scapula” due to the scratch in long thoracic nerve..
    in the right shoulder and its have little pain and make me embarrassing due to its a appearance my shoulder bone its very obvious.
    I wondering why my trapezius in atrophy case ? I mean (the trapezius) very small ! and my lat is too lose its mass but not like the trapezius what is the reason of ?
    I wonder what is the effect of Long thoracic nerve on this two muscles !
    and dose one year enough to fix it ?
    and what do you think if I goes to the surgery treatment ?
    its better than the exercises?
    it will be great to have a replay,,
    thank you.

  152. This was a great read! Just a couple questions though. I went through shoulder impingement 2 years ago. Stretched the pecs a lot, stretched internal rotators, performed external rotations and did a lot of pulling motions. The only pushing I did for a year was push-ups. The impingement got a lot better and so I incorporated more chest work, but no more than: 3sets of flat bench and dips, then 3 sets of overhead press and 3 sets of pushups…well now the impengment is back with severe winging mostly on the right side. So stretching my pecs and doing these releases/these often should these be performed, sets and reps and also, what other back exercises can I do? along with any others I can perform to stay in shape without assiting in this shoulder problem. Also, should I only stick to push-ups from now on once I rehab this back to normal? it seems like no matter how little chest I do, my pecs grow really easy. Also, is it safe to do pull-ups and chin-ups? I live doing those

    Thank you!!!

    • Hey Ricky,

      You can do these exercises 1/day.

      In terms of what exercises you can do whilst having shoulder pain… you pretty much can do everything as long as it is not causing your symptoms to worsen. Anything that doesn’t hurt you, is likely to help you more than anything.

      You can progress your push ups to very light weights with the dumbbells. You may need to keep your elbows closer to the sides of your body as you push through. This is to take some stress off the shoulder.

      Pull up and chin ups are fine as long as it is not causing more pain. Generally speaking, over head exercises cause more problems with shoulder impingement. Just be careful and listen to your body.


  153. Hi Mark, I had shoulder surgery about a year and a half ago and ever since I’ve had a severe winged scapula. I’ve tried mostly everything from stretches, to serratus strengthening exercises but nothing has worked. I also feel that my trapezius muscle has stopped working entirely and I can’t even contract it during rows or shrugs. My scapula almost pops around when I retract, it’s very strange. I’m 17, so I feel that I shouldn’t be having some of these problems. If you could offer any imput as to how I should go about my winged scapula I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks. I also told my doctor and he was also very puzzled. He said with proper strengthening it should be fine, but I’ve been seeing a physical therapist for it for almost 2 months and it hasn’t changed one bit. Thanks again.

  154. Thank you so much for posting this information! I was carrying a five gallon bucket (full of water) to water some plants that the hose doesn’t reach. The next day, my shoulder blade ached terribly. It got worse over the course of several days. I saw my chiropractor three times last week, getting some relief but it still felt like my shoulder was protruding. Tonight, I finally decided to look at it with a second mirror. Whoa! Winged scapula, all right!

    I just went through the exercises and stretches, and now I am icing. My husband says it isn’t sticking out as much. I can’t thank you enough for providing this information!

  155. This is literally exactly what I have been looking for! I have a big mind-body disconnect and it has been very difficult to know whether I am activating the serratus anterior and if I am, am I doing it correctly? I have been in and out of PT for years with no luck, but your cues, pictures, and descriptions now give me the confidence to proceed with strengthening it correctly. Thank you so much!

  156. Hi,

    Whilst doing these exercises daily should I avoid any exercises? Also should I be focusing on pulling my shoulder blades back/down when sitting/standing or letting them hang neutral? Im pretty sure I have a winged scapula, is there anyway to make sure? I can see two lines which are the inside edges through my t-shirt, I also have a lot of right shoulder pain and it feels like my scalene muscles are tight. I’m in real need of help as I tried for a long time to correct this by rowing and doing serous exercises without really putting much effort into releasing pec minor etc

    Thanks for your great article

    • Hey Lewis,

      Rowing might actually make your winged scapula worse!

      The key player is the Serratus Anterior muscle as this muscles causes the shoulder blade to hug the rib cage.

      When sitting, you want to aim to pull your shoulder blade DOWN and AROUND. (as opposed to down and in).


    • Hi again,

      Thanks for your response. So do you mean I should pull them down and protract them whilst sitting and standing? This sort of makes me round my shoulders?

    • Hey Lewis,

      You want to tilt your scapula backwards (posterior tilt) and upward rotate your shoulder blade whilst keep the shoulders back.


    • thanks for your response again.. I’m sorry but I’m not getting it, how do I do all these things at once without causing my shoulders to round?

      thanks again

    • Hi Lewis,

      Your shoulders will not round forward if you do the scapula movements as stated before.

      If they round forward, then it is likely you are not performing the right movements with your shoulder blade.


  157. This is really nice of you to post for free!! As a aspiring physical therapist, it’s nice to see someone else trying to take away people’s pain. I have a quick question. When I look into the mirror, my traps are obviously not symmetrical. On the side that my scalpula is winged it drops down, what do yowe make of this?

    • Hey Jon,

      If you are winged on that side, the scapula is in a position of medial rotation.

      This would make your Upper trapezius slope down on that side.

      Correcting this scapula position should improve your assymetrical shoulders.


    • Follow the exercises on this website. I had same problem as you for 4 years. Just found this site and fixed my issues. Awesome information

  158. Hi Mark,
    Thanks so much for these exercises.
    Do you have suggestions for how many sets / times per day we should be doing these?
    Thanks again

    • Hey Matt,

      You can go through these exercises 1 to 2 times a week to start off with.

      As you get better, I would try to progress to every day.


  159. hi mark

    Ive been trying to sort out a winged scapula for a long time, but when i try to do any of the exercises i am recommended, all i can feel is my scapula sticking way out of my back. when i follow the step above called “activating the serratus anterior”, no matter what i do, i just end up with my shoulder blade sticking way out of my back.

    i know that my trap, pec area and levator scapula are all very tight, i feel as if its impossible to get my shoulder into the right position because of this. what would you suggest? thanks

    • Hello Winged Goblin!

      You might need to keep releasing/stretching those particular muscles first to help you get into a position where you can start to engage your serratus anterior muscle.

      If those muscles are tight, it places the serratus anterior in a stretched/inhibited position which will make it very difficult to even feel the contraction, let alone get it pulling the shoulder blade in the right direction.

      Once released, you can start to focus more on the activation part :)


    • i feel like the pec release method you described is going to help so i’ll focus on that for a while. thanks for replying, have a great day

  160. Hi Mark, I got serratus palsy due to parsonage-turner syndrome two and a half years ago, my serratus has been left paralysed until very recently where it has started waking up. How many times per day should I do the stretches and exercises?
    Can’t lift my arm vertical or anything yet, also my shoulder blade seems to pull right into the centre of my back when I try, not sure entirely what’s causing that though, could be overcompensation by other muscles.
    Thank you,

  161. Hi Mark,
    I don’t think I have scapula winging but my right scapula does not come in life the left one when I pinch them together. The left one comes in to nearly straight but the right one stays 30 degrees out. Will these excersize help?

    • Hi Kawser,

      Sounds like you may have an issue with your Rhomboid not being able to bring the right scapula back in line.

      You may also have an issue with tightness/hypertonicty with the serratus anterior muscles as well.

      Do you have a picture of it?


  162. Thank you so much mark!!!
    I am getting this pain from last 1 week and it gets horrible at night. I am doing these exercise and i am getting relief , as the pain is reducing.
    Thank you :)

    • Hi Ravi,

      It depends.

      But it certainly is not an over night fix.

      It’s very hard to give a time frame (and that’s even if I assess you in person)

      Takes time, effort, consistency! Keep up the good work!


  163. Mark,


    Thank you so much for posting it.

    I am so excited to start these exercises.

    I’ll keep you up to date!

    • Hi MARK!

      My serratus anterior is higher and sticks out more on the right side in the pictures while on the left it is Lower and holds tight to my body.

      I Posted Pictures Here:

      Is this a muscle imbalance issue or is this just how my muscles insert.

      Also I have a slight amount of winging on the shoulder that the muscle is higher on.

      Is ther e way to activate the lower serratus to make this muscle not so bunches up or will it correct itself when I have no winging on that side.

    • Hey Kevin,

      Here are some possible reasons:

      1. Muscular imbalance: This could be a result from sport, exercising, posture etc.

      2. Position of scapula: Can affect how the serratus anterior will function. (eg. winging)

      3. Ribs are structurally different shaped on either side. Can be from birth or past traumas to the area.

      4. Ribs may be translated/rotated which may make the ribs more prominent on one side. Since the serratus sits on the ribs, this could change the appearance of the serratus anterior muscle.

      5. Your spine is possibly tilting/rotating which affects the position of the ribs.

      Hard to say which one applies to you from this image!


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