Thursday, October 15, 2009

STOTT PILATES® Five Basic Principles: Principal 4 Scapular Stabilization

Principal 4 Scapular Stabilization

*STABILIZING THE SCAPULAE on the rib cage is as important as contracting the abdominal muscles during the initiation of every exercise. When stability is
absent, there is a tendency to overwork muscles around
the neck and shoulders. Be aware of scapular stabilization at all times, whether
there is movement of the arms and spine or not. Since they lack a direct bony attachment to the rib cage and spine, the scapulae have a great deal of mobility.
In making a greater range of motion available to the arms, the scapulae can glide upward, downward, inward and outward, and can also rotate upward or downward. Although the scapulae move with the arms, a sense of stability, not rigidity, should always be maintained. Keep the feeling of the ears reaching away from the shoulders, even though they may actually be elevating, as is the case when the arms lift overhead. A sense of width should be maintained across the front and back of the shoulder girdle. The shoulders should not be allowed to overly round forward or squeeze completely together. The scapulae should lie flat on the rib cage and glide across it without coming away from it. Be aware that an individual’s neutral placement of the scapulae may be slightly different from their natural resting position. An ideal working alignment must be established for each individual.

Start supine, with pelvis and spine neutral. Knees flexed, feet abducted hip-distance apart on the mat. Arms long by sides, palms down.

(ELEVATION, supine)
Inhale Elevate scapulae, lifting shoulders toward ears.
Exhale Return scapulae to neutral, sliding shoulders down away from ears (avoid rounding shoulders forward as they slide down).

(DEPRESSION, supine)
Inhale Depress scapulae, drawing shoulders away
from ears.
Exhale Return scapulae to neutral.

(PROTRACTION, seated or supine)
Inhale Protract scapulae, widening between
shoulder blades.
Exhale Bring scapulae back to neutral, with feeling
of opening collarbone.

(RETRACTION, seated or supine)
Inhale Retract scapulae, bringing shoulder blades
closer together.
Exhale Bring scapulae back to neutral.

The Introduction of the Five Basic Principles
Principal 1 Breathing
Principal 2 Pelvic Placement
Principal 3 Rib Cage Placement
Principal 5 Head and Cervical Placement

Article by Moira Merrithew, STOTT PILATES® Executive Director, Education
(taken from

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