Tucker: Shoulder phase two

I’ve moved on to the next stage of shoulder rehab and now I’m focusing on my rhomboids, serratus and lower traps. I’m still doing my rotator cuff work; internal rotations for subscapularis, external rotations for infraspinatus and teres minor, and mini shoulder raises for suprascapularis, but now that they’re stronger and more coordinated they don’t need as much attention. Now I’m spending a bunch of time on three exercises, hoping to get these other shoulder stabilizers to wake up.


This one was really missing. Every time I thought I was working my rhomboids in the past, I was actually letting the shoulder blade wing and then retracting too far using only my mid trap, rather than keeping the shoulder blade close to my body and squeezing it into the right position. For this one, I just grab a cable handle and hold it out almost parallel to my body (a few degrees forward so it’s easy on the joint) at around shoulder height and try to squeeze with my rhomboid to bring the scapula closer to my spine…. it’s going okay but still a work in progress.


This one isn’t such a mystery since I’ve worked serratus a lot in the past, but instead of focusing just on the easy part of the muscle which wraps around your ribs and sits a little under your pec, I’m trying to focus around back where it attaches to the scapula. I use a cable machine and hold it at the same height for my rhomboids and push in front of me.

Lower traps:

This one is very difficult. Getting it to activate is that perfect spot between pulling your shoulder blade down, but not too much and getting it to pull back, but again, not too much. My upper trap on one side always bunches up and is used to activating no matter what I do, so that makes it more difficult. I’ve been holding a cable handle off to my side with my palm facing in, letting my shoulder up and then pulling down to activate scapular depression, and then pull backwards and try to feel the trap activate around the bottom of my shoulder blade.

After that I finish it up with a quick version of my rotator cuff exercises and I’m good to go. I’ve only been doing this for a little over a week, but already the changes in my coordination have been huge! Once I get these to be strong and coordinated like my rotator cuffs it’s going to be great. It may take a while, but it’s coming!

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Tucker Loken is a Bodybuilder turned Powerlifter turned Powerbuilder from Eugene, Oregon. He did his first bodybuilding show when he was still in high school, and has been training male and female competitors for shows since 2011. Several years ago he decided to take a step away from his normal routine and learn how to get strong. He worked with Brian for 9 months, added 200 pounds to his raw total and qualified as an Elite lifter in the 220 pound weight class. He returned back to bodybuilding much stronger and now incorporates the 10/20/Life philosophy into his training to keep himself healthy and making continual progress in the Big 3 as well as adding size and shaping his physique. Now part of Team PRS, he brings his unique expertise of nutritional knowledge and how to balance Bodybuilding with Powerlifting to help athletes achieve their best potential.
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