Shoulder Exercise: The Cheerleader 3x3x3

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This is a video of a very simple exercise to help promote scapular retraction that I learned from Mike Reinold . I like exercises that are easy to teach and the patient can feel working almost instantly. This is also just a great exercise to get people out of the anterior tilt and rounded shoulder posture we see with the desk working community. The patient can literally have a band by their desk and bang out a set every hour or two…get that reverse posturing going! Also helps with those with impingement issues related to poor shoulder positioning.

All you need is a theraband and you’re set. As stated in the video, you just take the band between your hands and pull it across your chest, making sure to get a nice scapular squeeze at the end range. After doing 3 reps in the horizontal direction turn the band on an angle and repeat the same motion 3 times. Then turn the band the other way and do it…you guessed it, 3 times! Why 3? I don’t know, I just like it cause I call it the 3x3x3 drill (3 reps in 3 directions for 3 sets = easy for client to remember). This exercise mainly targets the lower trapezius muscle and rhomboids in a reciprocal fashion to pull the shoulders back and tip the scapula posteriorly. It’s cool cause it works both sides at the same time (less time for the patient to worry about exercising)

Again, this is a good exercise for developing posterior chain strength and endurance in the upper body. To get the most bang out of your exercise buck, have your client return the band to the starting position VERY slowly…this will promote great eccentric posterior cuff and shoulder stability…and the client will get a nice burn going.


Contributed by Your Friendly Neighbourhood Physio - Jesse Awenus B.A Hons (kin), MSc.PT


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