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fapel

I can not retract my shoulder blades / scapula / lats

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fapel

whenever i do pullups or inverted rows or chinups i can not ever retract my shoulder blades, scapula, or lats. I think it is because all I did was pushups for years and constantly progressed on those and did not focus on pulling as much. 

What should i do to fix this? 

Whenever I do back exercises the next day my upper back hurts a little because i can not retract the muscles properly.

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Biren Patel

Just a few clarifications, first:

The shoulder blades and scapulae are the same thing. Just different names.

Retraction refers to the movement of scapula, not the movement of  the muscle that attaches to the scapula. So the lat doesn't retract. The scapula retracts, and the muscles used in this movements are the mid trapezius fibres, the rhomboids major, and rhomboids minor.

Anyways, in a pulling movement the objective isn't to retract fully, otherwise the lats would shorten too much and hinder contraction.

If your upper back is sore around the mid traps, it probably means that those muscles have been worked...

Post some videos of your pulling movements and we can see if you are a) doing the movements correctly and b) what you need to work on

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Connor Davies

Wait, so you can't retract at all? Try hanging in a pullup and / or row position and retracting your scapula.  Keep your arms straight, focus only on movement from the shoulder blades.  If you can get movement, just remember to start every pullup / row with this same movement.

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