Scap Pushups (How To, Benefits & Alternatives)


Scap Pushups

Scap Pushups are a great warm-up exercise that both engages the core and builds shoulder stability by holding a plank position while protracting and retracting the shoulder blades. Scap Pushups can sometimes take a minute to get the hang of at first, but once you do they are a quick and very effective warm-up movement.

In this guide, I’m going to teach you how to properly do Scap Pushups, why you should do them and finally give a few alternatives in case you need them.


How To Do Scap Pushups


Equipment Needed

  • None

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Scap Pushups begin with the athlete in a push-up position.
  • Hands should be directly under the shoulders. The body should be in a straight line, core engaged.
  • Retract the shoulder blades by actively lowering the chest and allowing the shoulder blades to slide together.
  • Now protract the shoulder blades by elevating the chest, essentially trying to ‘reach’ the upper torso toward the sky.
  • Arms should stay straight throughout the movement.

Coaching Points

Do NOT rush through this movement. Yes, the longer you hold the position the more challenging it is on not only your shoulders, but your core as well. This is part of the point of the exercise is to continue forcing the body to stabilize once fatigue starts to set in. Embrace that aspect of the movement.

Keep arms straight! Easily the biggest mistake I see with athletes with Scap Pushups is wanting to bend the arms on the scap retraction. Keep the arms straight and focus on the movement of the shoulder blades.

In my programming, I often like to include a set of regular Pushups directly after Scap Pushups. This helps reinforce movement patterns and can be challenging from being pre-fatigued by the Scap Pushups.


Benefits of Scap Pushups


Scap Pushups work on shoulder stabilization. In athletics (and in life), the better the smaller stabilizer muscles in your shoulder can fire and maintain stabilization, the less susceptible you are to injury.

Exercises like Scap Pushups will not guarantee you won’t injure your shoulder (no exercise can guarantee that), but combined with a complete training program can increase your chances of staying healthy.


Scap Pushup Alternatives


Looking for other shoulder stabilization movements? Here are a few alternatives you can try out:

Shoulder Taps

Shoulder Taps

Shoulder Taps are another easy-to-do shoulder stabilization movement that you can incorporate into your warm-up routine – either as an alternative to Scap Pushups or even in addition to.

Just like with Scap Pushups, start in a pushup position. Keep the core engaged and the body in a straight line. Then, simply reach up and tap the opposite shoulder and continue alternating sides until all reps are complete.

A, Y, T

A, Y, T are a shoulder series done with a very light weight (often 2.5 lb or 5 lb plates), laying on your stomach on a bench angled at 30 degrees. This series focuses on the posterior shoulder, doing raises making a letter A with the arms, then a Y and finally a T.

What makes A, Y, T great as an alternative here is that they can be done with one arm if necessary. So, if you are limited by an injury that doesn’t allow you to get into a pushup position, A, Y, T can be a perfect sub.


More Links and Info


Find dozens more warm-up movements inside the Warm-Up Section of the Exercise Library.

Ryan Horton

Horton Barbell was created by Ryan Horton who has served as a Sports Performance Coach for almost 20 years. My mission is to create a training resource to help as many coaches and athletes as possible maximize athletic potential.

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