How to do Scapular Push Ups

Scapular push ups are an excellent way to build your shoulder, upper back, and your chest muscles.  

I do traditional push-ups to strengthen all of these muscle groups.  I have been doing push-ups since I can remember, but I recently heard about scapular push-ups and the great benefits that come along with them.  Scapular push-ups are excellent for building your scapular muscles which are located near your shoulder blades and your neck. Even bodybuilders will do them too isolate and build those muscles. 

You can also try scapular pull ups to strengthen your upper back and shoulders.

Many people do scapular push-ups to strengthen or rehabilitate their scapular muscles.  Other folks do them to build up their strength so that they can eventually do a full push-up. Whatever your reasons are for doing scapular push ups, you c\an use this article as a reference or a guide on how to incorporate them into your weekly workout.

How to Position Your Body for Scapular Push Ups

Depending on your ability, adjust these instructions so that you can comfortably perform a scapular push up. 

Knees on the Floor

If you’re not strong enough to hold your body in a traditional start position for a push-up, you can place your knees on the floor. It’s basically the same position as a traditional push-up, but you will have less pressure on your arms and shoulders because a lot of the weight will be placed upon your knees. 

If you have knee troubles, I would recommend using a thick yoga mat. You could even try folding the mat so that it creates a doubling or tripling cushion affect.  

Your body should be very straight from your knee to your head. You should be able to imagine a board being placed underneath you and your entire body being able to touch the board from your knees to your face. 

Another key is making sure that your feet are at least at a 90 degree angle with your body. This will ensure that you won’t have as much pressure on your knee cap. 

Once you do these, you will see that it’s quite easy to do. But, I wanted to give you a full detailed way of thinking about performing this exercise.

You can apply the following steps to having your knees on the floor.

Standard Push Up Start Position

Please bear in mind that this is a very detailed description. If you know how to position your body and hands for a push-up, you can skip this part.

Hand position

  • Place your body in a standard push-up start position. 
  • Place your hands a little bit wider than your shoulders.
  • Be sure that your wrists are at a greater than 90 degree angle with your arm. This will help prevent wrist irritation. I personally like to have my wrists at about a 110 degree angle with my forearms. 
  • If you were to take a measurement from your fingers to your forearm there would be about 110 degrees of angle between your fingertips and your forearm.

Body position

  • With a standard push-up position you can start with your knees and feet on the ground and your upper body in a standing position.
  • Slowly lower your body to the ground.
  • Place your hands in the hand position that we mentioned above.
  • At this point you will look a little like a dog.
  • Place your toes on the floor so that they are the only part of your foot that is contacting the floor.

  • Now, let your knees off of the ground.
  • Scoot your feet away from your body.
  • Continue scooting your feet away from your body until your body is at a flat position from your ankles to your head. (imagine that there is a board that your entire body will touch from your ankle to your head)
  • Position your feet at about shoulders width apart.
  • With your hands and arms being in the proper position that we discussed before (below your shoulders) you are in position!

How to Perform the Scapular Push Ups

Now that you’re in the proper push up start position, you can begin to perform this simple exercise.

The Descent

  • Keep your arms and shoulders in the same position at all times.
  • Allow your chest, neck, head and the rest of your body to evenly decline towards the floor.
  • Do not let your belly lead.
  • Your chest should need.
  • You’ve reached the bottom of your scapular push-up position when your shoulder blades touch, or you can no longer lower yourself to the floor without bending your arms.

The Push Up

  • The reality is that you are using nearly every muscle in your body when performing this exercise. But, you want to focus on your upper back and shoulders. All the other muscles in the body are there to stabilize your body so you can work your scapular muscles.
  • When you begin to push up, you are really just widening your shoulder blades so that your chest is being brought upward.

  • Try to maintain the image of a board being placed from your face to your ankle and every part of your body being able to touch that board in a flat even position.
  • When you are at the peak of your push upward, your pectoral muscles or chest muscles will no not be able to contract further and your shoulder blades will be rolled outward as far as possible.
  • You have now completed a full repetition of a scapular push up.

Scapular Push Up Workouts

How to Incorporate them into Your Weekly Workout? 

These are basic examples of workouts that you can do with scapular push-ups. Each person will have their own goals for doing scapular push-ups. But, you can try these and adopt them as you would like.

Straight Sets of Scapular Push Ups

  • You can do 3 sets of however many repetitions you would like. For this example we will use 10 reps. (10 reps x 3 sets)
  • Do 10 repetitions slowly.
  • 2 seconds count – downward
  • 2 seconds count – upward 
  • Take a 1 minute rest
  • Repeat this process 2 more times

Ladder Sets

  • You can do 3 sets of repetitions while continually increasing the number of repetitions per set.
  • Start with 6 repetitions slowly.
  • 3 seconds count – downward.
  • 2 seconds count – upward.
  • Take a 30-second rest.
  • Next, do 8 repetitions.
  • Take a 45-second rest.
  • Then, do 10 repetitions.
  • If you want to do more reps, keep going until you want to stop.
  • Increase the rest period by 15 seconds with every set.
  • Take a 45-second rest

Pyramid Sets

Doing pyramid sets is my favorite body weight workout. I feel like they work the best to strengthen any muscle group that I’m working on. I saved these for last so that hopefully you will give them a try first.

  • You can start with 5 sets.
  • Think of them like ladders, only this time you will go up the ladder and then back down the ladder.
  • Start with 6 reps
  • Then do 8 reps
  • Peak with 10 reps
  • Go down to 8 reps
  • Finish with 6 reps


I hope this gave you a nice overview of how to do scapular push ups. Remember to have a positive attitude and eat well when you work out. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact me. I hope this guide is useful. Have an awesome day!