Scapular Wall Slides: How To Do, Benefits And Technique

Scapular wall slides or Scapular slides are one of the basic and best exercises for strengthening the upper back muscles and improving scapular strength and mobility.

Incorporating scapular wall slides into your exercise routine can help to build additional strength, muscle mass and improve weak areas in your shoulders and upper back.

In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about how to perform the scapular wall slides correctly. You will also learn its benefits, how to avoid common mistakes.

What Are Scapular Wall Slides?

Scapular wall slides—also known as wall slide or reverse wall slide—It is one of the basic exercises that people are taught to practice for improved shoulder rotation, upper back activation, and scapular mobility.

To do them, a lifter would stand with the heels, butt, upper back, shoulders and full arms. Keep hands against the wall, arch the lower back less. Moves the hands up and down, like they were doing a full shoulder press.

Benefits Of Wall Slides

The Scapular wall slides exercises are a good choice for training: Benefits of regularly performing scapula slides include:

1. Improved Scapular Stability

Wall slides target the muscles responsible for scapular stability, such as the serratus anterior, lower trapezius, and rhomboids.

It helps stabilize and control the movement of the shoulder blades, promoting better shoulder function.

2. Strong and Healthy Shoulder

The shoulder and shoulder blades are powered by the scapula muscle. Working out this muscle group helps keep your shoulders strong and healthy.

3. Improve Shoulder Range of Motion

The reverse wall slides calls on strength in the serratus anterior, helping to keep your shoulders working with both power and full range of motion.

4. Reduce Shoulder and Neck Pain

In the study, it was found that the group that did wall slide exercises had a significant decrease in pain in the rotator cuff muscles after four weeks.

5. Enhance Upper Back Mobility

You can use this exercise to warm up your shoulder and back muscles for training. It is an excellent exercise for building stabilizing strength and mobility in your shoulder blades.

6. Support Good Posture

The common signs of bad posture include rounded shoulders and a slouched upper back. Wall slides can help improve posture by counteracting the effects of sitting for a long time and bad posture.

They also stretch the front of your shoulders and chest muscles, while strengthening the muscles in the back of your shoulders (rear delt). This helps prevent the tendency to cave in the chest and slouch the shoulders while sitting.

7. Versatile

Wall slides can be performed virtually anywhere with a wall or vertical surface.

You don’t need any special equipment to practice the scapular wall slide workout. All you require is the right technique.

Scapula Wall Slides Muscles Worked

The muscles involved in wall slides are:

  • Main muscles during:  Rotator Cuff Muscles (shoulder)
  • Secondary muscles:  Trapezius, Rhomboids, and Levator Scapulae

Wall Slides Exercise Guide

Wall slides work the muscles surrounding the scapula and shoulder for both dynamic and static stability. It is a frequently used exercise for upright posture and postural disorders. The W/Y wall slide trains retraction and depression of the shoulder blade.

Wall slides are an effective exercise to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles.

Wall Slides

How To Properly Do The Reverse Wall Slide

  1. Start by standing with your back flat against a wall.
  2. Keep your feet at least 6 inches in front of your body and keep the back of your head, shoulders, and butt against the wall.
  3. Leave a slight bend in your knees, so your legs aren’t fully locked.
  4. Slowly slide your arms up the wall, keeping your elbows straight, until you reach a position where your arms are above your shoulders and at 90-degree angles from your torso.
  5. With your chest open and back tall, squeeze the muscles of your midback as you slide your arms down toward your shoulders.
  6. Keep your back and the backs of your palms, wrists, and elbows pressed up against the wall.
  7. Slowly slide your arms down the wall, keeping them as close to the wall. Elbows are slightly lower than shoulder height.
  8. Hold this position for one count. Inhale and then push your arms back up to your starting position without anything lifting off from the wall.
  9. Repeat for the prescribed number of sets and repetitions.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

While performing wall slides, it’s important to be aware of and avoid the following common mistakes:

1. Shrugging the Shoulders

Avoid lifting or shrugging your shoulders towards your ears during the exercise. Keep your shoulders relaxed and down, focusing on engaging the muscles around the shoulder blades.

2. Arching the Lower Back

Maintain a neutral spine alignment throughout the exercise to avoid unnecessary strain on the lower back.

3. Overextending the Neck

Avoid tilting your head back excessively or jutting your chin forward. Keep your neck aligned with your spine and maintain a neutral position to prevent strain on the neck muscles.

4. Using Momentum

Make sure that you do the wall slides slowly and carefully to work the targeted muscles.

5. Elbows to Flare Out

Keep your elbows in line with your shoulders and don’t let them go out to the sides. It helps to target the shoulder blade muscles and keep them aligned.

6. Neglecting Breathing

Remember to breathe throughout the exercise. Inhale as you slide your arms up the wall, and exhale as you lower them down.

Make It Easier Or Harder (Regression & Progression)

You can make Scapular wall slides easier by taking the feet a few inches away from the wall.

To make Scapula slides harder, you can increase the number of sets and the number of times you do them. Or you can do scapular wall slides with a resistance band.

1. Forearm Wall Slide

The forearm wall slide is an exercise that targets the muscles of the upper back, shoulders, and forearms. This exercise involves moving the forearms up and down a wall while keeping the elbows and wrists in contact with the wall.

This exercise offers unique benefits and can help improve posture, shoulder mobility, and forearm strength.

How To Do Forearm Wall Slide

  1. Stand facing a wall with your feet hip-width apart and a few inches away from the wall.
  2. Start by touching the wall with your forearms and shoulder width apart.
  3. The elbows are bent at ninety degrees and the wrists are next to the elbows.
  4. Ensure that your elbows, wrists, and palms are in contact with the wall throughout the exercise.
  5. Slide your forearms up the wall as far as comfortable while maintaining contact with the wall.
  6. Pause briefly at the top of the movement, then slowly slide your forearms back to the starting position.
  7. Repeat the desired number of reps.
Forearm Wall Slide

2. Mini Resistance Band Wall Slide

Using a resistance band for the wall slides is a great way to build more strength in this important muscle. As you get stronger, you can use different levels of resistance to keep track of your progress.

With this exercise, don’t use a resistance band that’s too tight. If the band is too tense, you can use other muscles instead of the rotator cuff muscles.

Mini Resistance Band Wall Slide

How To Do Resistance Band Wall Slide

  1. Place the mini band around your forearms, just above your wrists.
  2. Round your shoulders forward slightly, maintaining contact between your elbows and the wall. This position ensures that your scapulae are protracted and engaged throughout the exercise.
  3. Slide your forearms upward along the wall while keeping your elbows in contact with the wall.
  4. Imagine that you are trying to raise your forearms from shoulder height to eye level.
  5. Slowly and in a controlled manner, slide your forearms back to the starting position.
  6. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

3. Foam Roller Wall Slide

Serratus wall slides is a strengthening and stability exercise for the shoulder protractors and up rotators.

By performing this exercise regularly, you can improve your shoulder strength and stability, which can help reduce pain and discomfort in the upper back and shoulders

The beginner can try scapular wall slides for strengthening the upper back muscles and improving scapular strength and mobility.

Foam Roller Wall Slide

Benefits Of Foam Roller Wall Slide

How To Do

  1. Stand facing a wall with a foam roller placed between your forearms at just below shoulder height.
  2. Push your elbows into the foam roller while pushing your shoulder blades forwards.
  3. Keep this pressure as you roll the foam roller upwards and back downwards to the starting position.
Know More: Best Foam Roller Exercises For Shoulder And Neck

4. Single Arm Wall Slide

The single-arm wall slide is a variation of the wall slide exercise that focuses on one arm at a time.

It helps you strengthen each arm individually, improve muscle balance, and fix any asymmetries or weaknesses.

How To Do The Single Arm Wall Slide

  1. Stand facing a wall with your feet shoulder-width apart and a few inches away from the wall.
  2. Extend one arm forward and forearm against the wall, keeping your elbow at a 90-degree angle.
  3. Slide your arm up the wall, maintaining contact with the wall throughout the movement.
  4. Then, briefly pause at the top of the movement and then slide your arm back down to the starting position.
  5. Complete the desired number of repetitions for one arm before switching to the other arm.


Wall slide exercises are a simple but effective movement that can help improve your posture, prevent shoulder injuries, and enhance your upper body strength.

You can master this exercise by following the step-by-step guide and including variations in your routine.

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