Why I Hate Scap Push-Ups

Maybe hate is a strong word.  But I don’t prescribe them.  Here’s why.

Generally, scap push-ups are prescribed because they’re thought to be a really good exercise for driving serratus anterior recruitment.


Serratus anterior drives scapular protraction and upward rotation.  As such, it’s crucial that overhead athletes are able to recruit it.


Here’s the problem with scap push-ups:

You have to get above 90 degrees of shoulder elevation to get serratus recruitment.  In scap push-ups, with the hands just below the shoulders, you simply don’t get enough humeral elevation to get any serratus recruitment.  As a result, when you protract you’re only using pec minor.  (And ultimately further ingraining a faulty pattern)

With all this in mind, I LOVE yoga push ups as a substitute because at that top position you get some shoulder elevation in order to fire up the serratus properly.  Check out the below for a bunch of different progressions of an exercise that’s a staple in a majority of my athletes’ programs.