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Exercises for the Shoulder to Help Chicken Wings

author image Bobby R. Goldsmith
Bobby R. Goldsmith is a writer and editor with over 12 years of experience in journalism, marketing and academics. His work has been published by the Santa Fe Writers Project, "DASH Literary Journal," the "Inland Valley Daily Bulletin" and WiseGEEK.
Exercises for the Shoulder to Help Chicken Wings
A man is doing lateral pull downs. Photo Credit: Art-Of-Photo/iStock/Getty Images

The Chicken Wing effect, also known as a winged scapula, is when your shoulder blades become exceptionally pronounced. In most cases, a series of several strengthening exercises can reduce or eliminate the condition. While one would think that shoulder exercises would be most effective for the shoulder blades, the area to target is actually the trapezius muscles, along with the posterior deltoids and latissimus dorsi muscles. The range of exercises can be performed with a weighted barbell, dumbbells or kettlebells, and you should perform all exercises for each training session at least twice per week.

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Don't Wing It

Target the scapula with high pulls first. Stand with your feet wider than your shoulders, and grip a barbell or a pair of dumbbells or kettlebells with your arms resting straight down, just below the waist. Bend at the elbows and pull the weight upward as high as possible, then control the weight back to the starting point. Next, move on to simple shoulder shrugs. Grip a weight in each hand, and begin with the weight resting at your sides. Shrug your shoulders upward so that your arms rise and carry the weight with it. Control the weight back down. For one or two sets, lean forward while performing the shrugs; this will incorporate the posterior portion of the deltoids. Finally, perform bent-over rows using a kettlebell or dumbbell. Bend over a workout bench and grip the weight in one hand, while supporting yourself with the other hand on the bench. Begin with the weight hanging down. Lift it toward you as far as possible, then control it back down.

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