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Be Well.

A health and wellness blogazine for Auburn University Students. 

Don't Give Your Warmup the Cold Shoulder:  Traps, Rhomboids and Deltoids.

Don't Give Your Warmup the Cold Shoulder: Traps, Rhomboids and Deltoids.

People often say that getting to the gym is half the battle.


A common mistake among many is focusing on getting there and breaking a sweat ­– not taking time to properly prepare your muscles and your body to avoid injury.

The shoulders are a commonly overlooked area, even though many exercises will involve the scapula. The overhead press, also known as the shoulder press, is often the culprit to pain and injury – causing serious problems to the shoulder and the surrounding area if done incorrectly.

Any time that you plan on loading or pressing weight overhead you must consider your form.

Start with little to no weight, grab a buddy to check your form, and follow these guidelines:

  • Keep your shoulders down and back
  • Maintain a straight spine
  • Stand centered and tall (no lean at the hips or pelvic tilt)
  • Keep your head in a neutral position

Here are three exercises that will promote safe and effective transitions into loading an overhead exercise, like the shoulder press.

Scapula Pull-Ups

Complete scapula pull-ups on a pull-up bar, resetting your feet on the floor between each repetition to allow for rest (advanced individuals can maintain a hanging position instead). Focus on bringing the scapula in toward the spine. Perform two or three sets with 12-20 repetitions.

This exercise works your mid and low traps as well as your rhomboids, which are important for pull-ups and rows.

Scapula Pull-Downs

This movement is similar to scapula pull-ups, but is performed on a cable or machine using a lighter weight to promote scapular stability. Position yourself on a pull-down cable machine. With your shoulders in the same position as the scapula pull-ups, retract both scapula, again focusing on bring the scapula towards the spine. Use a lighter weight so you can focus on how the scapula retracts. Make sure that you are only using your back and not compensating with your biceps, triceps or traps. Complete two or three sets with 12-20 repetitions.

This is another great exercise for healthy overhead pressing, rows and pull-ups.

Rear Deltoid Fly

Start with two lightweight dumbbells. Hinge at the hips, holding the dumbbells by the knees with slightly bent elbows. Maintaining the hinged position, move the dumbbells out and up, pinching the scapula together. Complete two or three sets with 12 to 20 repetitions.

This movement works your mid and low traps, rhomboids, and rear deltoids.


Use these three exercises to facilitate better shoulder mobility, resulting in stronger, healthier shoulders.

Make your fitness and weightlifting goals more achievable with these helpful tips and practice healthier habits to gain more confidence in the gym. What is your favorite warm-up routine? Let us know on social @AuburnCampusRec!

Be well, Auburn.


Photography: Chanah F.

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