Levator scapulae, the “I don’t know” muscle

Levator scapulae, the "I don't know" muscle

What happens if you just can’t remember?  Not to worry — there’s a muscle for that!  The levator scapulae does as its name implies — it elevates your scapula, or shoulder blade.  So, next time you’re asked for a muscle action you don’t know, just shrug it off!  Do this a few times and not only will you benefit from the workout, but (if you’ve been paying attention) you’ll never forget the levator scapulae.

But this muscle in fact accommodates a broad range of confidence levels.  If the scapula is held in place by other muscles, then contracting both of your levator scapulae muscles will extend the neck, pulling your head back.  Let your head drop forward again, and repeat a few times — you have just nodded your head in the affirmative!

And finally if you might know, but you’re really not sure?  Then you’ll want to contract just one of your levator scapulae (while fixing the scapula in place) — this will tilt your head to the side, in an expression of quizzical puzzlement.