The Best Exercise You Will Ever Do: Plank Scap Pushups

I have a client who’s currently recovering from a rotator cuff injury, and one of the main things I always try to do with rotator cuff injuries is trying to get their scapula to move properly with resistance, and one of the best moves is a pushup plus. For those who know, this is a great serratus anterior exercise, but people have a tendency to cheat and bend their elbows, essentially turning it into a pushup, which will only wind up messing their shoulder up even worse. Kinda like the way the Simpsons writers messed the show up after Conan left.

So after trying to figure out how to cue clients on how to avoid bending their arms, I had a flash of inspiration: “Why not get rid of the problem entirely??” Sure, I could lop off their arms at the elbow, but that would be bad for business. I mean, how would they be able to take out their wallets to pay for more sessions?? The only real answer was the following bit of inspirational awesomeness for anyone who has ever tried to do a pushup plus, but failed to get the scapular motion down like Charlie Brown.

I give you, the Plank Scap Pushups

Cueing for this should involve maintaining a tight core, and resisting the urge to round the thoracic spine to compensate for a lack of mobility in the scapulae. On top of being a great shoulder workout, the changing base of stability in the shoulders means the core has to work that much harder to keep it all together.

Try it, you may like it.

About deansomerset

Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, Post-Rehab Specialist, personal trainer and probably the coolest guy my mom knows, I try to impart a little knowledge with a sense of humor to keep people reading. I've always thought if it's something that can grab your attention, you're gonna remember it tomorrow!!
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5 Responses to The Best Exercise You Will Ever Do: Plank Scap Pushups

  1. Jim says:

    Having trained with you before, I like the way you think. Can I chop off my customers arms too?

    Ok, now that looks good. I am going to have to give that a shot. Thanks for the tip Deano!

  2. Andrew says:

    Great exercise. I do this myself. However I have scapular winging that is improving. But just wondering your thoughts on having the exercise start with the scapular already winging where the serratus anterior is obviously not getting it’s full stimulus potential.

    • deansomerset says:

      Hi Andrew. This exercise is great for winging, but you just have to make sure you are getting the full protraction by pushing your T-spine up as high as possible. It targets the serratus very well, and should help out with winging.

  3. R. Smith says:


    Talk about a great variation. You, sir, are a (evil) genius.
    Keep giving us the awesome blogposts and creative exercises.


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