Home Blog Scapular Wall Slide Technique

Scapular Wall Slide Technique

Written on October 1, 2009 at 6:00 am, by Eric Cressey

Last week’s video of the week was the scapular wall slide.  After it was posted, I got quite a few questions in the comments section, so I figured I’d devote today’s blog to answering those questions.  In case you missed the original video, here it is again:

Q: In the wall slide, do you try to keep the wrists and back of the hands flush to the wall? I noticed that the demonstrator did not.

A: No, that’s not mandatory.  If someone lacks glenohumeral (shoulder ball-and-socket) range-of-motion or can’t effectively posterior tilt/depress the scapulae, it’d require extra arching of the lower back to get the hands flush to the wall.  I generally tell folks to focus solely on scapular movement; the hands-to-the-wall will come over time as flexibility improves.  Scapular wall slides can still be extremely valuable even if you can’t get your hands to the wall.

Q: Any advice on how much to let the small of the back round?

A: I’m assuming you mean “arch.”  My response would be that you should just set your body in “normal” alignment first, and then worry about the arm positioning.  Those with bigger butts may have a little bit more arching, but I don’t really worry too much about this, as I’m purely concerned with scapular movement.  It really doesn’t matter to me whether your feet are 2″ from the wall or 12″ as long as you’re getting your lower traps firing and opening up the pec, anterior delt, and subscapularis.

9 Responses to “Scapular Wall Slide Technique”

  1. Pete Says:

    What sort of set/rep scheme would you recommend for wall slides?

  2. Jack Says:


    Is a large part of the reason why her lower back arch appears fairly prominent and the wrists are somewhat extended due to having her feet flush up against the wall?

    I normally do this with my heels about 6 inches from the wall, and have no issues, but having the feet right up against it definitely makes it a different animal.

  3. Kyle Says:


  4. Fred Peterson Says:

    Glad I ran across this and the lower back, arms against wall. I was thinking I had serious issues cause my back archs way out it feels like and I can’t quite keep my hands against the wall all the way up. Glad to read they aren’t necessary.

  5. Eric Cressey Says:


    Try the back to wall shoulder flexion and forearm wall slides at 135 degrees; they’re much more up-to-date exercises we use:



  6. Ronald Says:

    Hi Eric,

    With the wall to back shoulder flexion exercise (first vid post above), would having a light rubber band around your arms (at elbow hight so it goes over your head when shoulders are in flexion) be a usefull addition? As with the forearm wall slide, of which you also have a version with band around arms that you have to pull apart during the movement.

    Many thanks!!!


  7. Eric Cressey Says:


    You could definitely add that, if you’d like.

  8. Ronald Says:

    Hi Eric,

    Thanks! It feels good.

    KR from the Netherlands!

  9. Richard Says:

    Hi Eric,

    I’ve recently added these to my routine. I experience extreme cramping in my left rear deltoid at the bottom of the movement. I get to this to some extent with other movements, such as cuban rotations, but never to the same extent. Can you recommend any other exercises/stretches that will help reduce this?


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