Exercise Video of the Week: Scap Push-up Progressions for Shoulder Health & Function

Good morning and happy Monday!

I hope you had a fantastic weekend and were able to find some time to relax and enjoy yourself, your friends, family, and loved ones.

I was fortunate enough to be able to travel to NYC and spend the weekend with several of my best friends in celebration of one of their birthday’s. All in all, I couldn’t have asked for a more amazing experience.

Now, in this weeks’ Exercise Video of the Week, I want to discuss a simple exercise to include within your current training program for improved shoulder health and function:

The Scap Push-Up

The Scap Push-up is a relatively common exercise designed to recruit the serratus anterior.


Sufficient serratus strength and recruitment patterns are essential for optimal shoulder performance but are, unfortunately, an often neglected component of the average trainees programming.

In the video below I briefly describe why the serratus is so important and how to perform several variations of the Scapular Pushup. I hope you enjoy the video and, as always, if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions leave them in the comments section at the end.

Never Minimal. Never Maximal. Always Optimal.


Scap Push-Up Progressions


Benefits of the Scap Push-Up

  • Effectively recruits the Serratus Anterior which will improve scapular stability and shoulder health/function.
  • Personally, I find the plank position significantly easier to teach. I also “feel” it more in the plank position as opposed to the standard pushup position.
  • The plank position allows for improved core stability.

Technique Points for the Scap Push-Up

  1. Get in the standard Plank position.
  2. Maintain a neutral spine, keep your chin tucked, and place your elbows beneath your shoulders.
  3. Keeping your abs tight, allow your chest to sink in towards the ground. DO NOT let your lower back cave in or allow your neck to shoot forward.
  4. Once you’ve sunk in as far as you can go, forcefully drive your elbows and forearms into the ground as hard as possible! Push up as far as you can go while maintaining a neutral spine.
  5. Repeat for the prescribed number of sets and repetitions.

Programming the Scap Push-Up

  • Frequency: Add a Scap Push-up variation into your warm-ups prior to upper body training sessions and/or on rest days.
  • Intensity: This movement is not meant to be heavily loaded or taken to failure. Your own body weight is plenty of resistance and you can increase the difficulty by slightly elevating your feet.
  • Sets: ~2-3
  • Reps: ~8-12

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  • David

    Love the scapular push-up video. Been looking for exercises that focus on that region. Thanks!

    • Jordan

      Glad to hear it, David!


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  • fernando

    nice post. i remember robertson and cressey saying to load it to progress? why isnt it necessary? ive been doing it? and loading this movement is somewhat difficult.

    • fernando

      dont know why the commas show up as interrogation.

    • I don’t see much benefit in loading the movement. I use it as a simple activation exercise and, in weaker individuals, a strength movement. Loading it would be akin to loading a basic glute bridge pre-workout which, in my opinion, is unnecessary.


  • Jonathan Sparkes

    When I’m working on my Olympic Lifting technique, I like to have my whole body, particularly my core engaged and ready to be used as a synergist to aid the rigidity and support of my technique, so I do some light core work just for, as you say, activation, before hand.

    It doesn’t have to be to failure or work on its strength, because just its presence where you can feel it and engage it to influence my technique is enough. So this exercise is perfect, since I’m sure this muscle group has some influence in the final over head position of the jerk or snatch where it works along side the Lats and Traps for stability? and therefore will make it stronger. I will certainly add it to my warm up which comprises of body weight compound exercises anyway. Great vid!

    • Great insight, Jon.

      By the way, your shirt’s in the mail 😉

  • Jane Siegel

    I strained my rotator cuff on my left side several months ago, and have been looking for ways to strengthen it. Would this be a good exercise to use to help with that?

    • Jane,

      This would be a good exercise in general but not specifically for the rotator cuff.

      For the rotator cuff I’d first recommend you see a Physical Therapist. Other than that, various drills such as…

      – Side Lying External Rotations
      – Cable External Rotations
      – Bottoms Up KB Presses

      …would likely be of great benefit.


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