This is thelast in a series of Functionally Fit exercises designed for the shoulders.Cable cross-arm reverse pull-downs are designed to strengthen downward rotationand retraction of the scapula and bring clients out of the bad habit of usingthe upper trapezius.

See 'RelatedResources' below for past Functionally Fits (including the shoulder series) andother exercises and training tips.


Elevatethe arms or the pulley attachments of a functional trainer or cable cross-unitso that they are sufficiently above shoulder-height.

Instanding with the palms facing you, pull the elbows down and back, squeezingthe shoulder blades together while focusing on bringing the inferior part ofthe shoulder blades down and back.

Pauseat the bottom, and then slowly return to upright. Perform two to three sets of10-15 repetitions.

Thisexercise is similar to reverse pull-downs, but slightly superior in allowingyou to more sufficiently activate the lower trapezius along with the rhomboidsand middle trapezius. The diagonal motion allows you to reinforce downwardrotation and retraction of the scapula and counteract the upper trapeziusdominant patterns most clients present with. The exercise can also be done inkneeling or sitting, as needed.

Additional Notes
Be sureto remind the client to allow the elbows to bend naturally or remain at arelatively fixed angle as opposed to extending the elbows as lengthening thelever arm may strain the shoulder especially in clients with SLAP tears,anterior shoulder instability or rotator cuff inflammation. The independentcable movement will also reveal any unilateral strength deficits or faultymovement patterns that may be present.

I use this exercise for shoulder prehab/rehaband postural strengthening for the upper back. It is also an effectivealternative for those clients who struggle with prone scapular strengthening.

BrianSchiff, PT, CSCS ( a licensed physical therapist, respected author and fitness professional. Hebecame a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) in 1998. In2000, he opened his own personal training and sport-specific conditioningfacility, Fitness Edge, in Dublin, Ohio. Brian has presented at severalprofessional conferences and seminars on injury prevention and sport-specifictraining.