Ferrigno Fitness Healthy & Lifestyle Scapular Pullup – Scapular Pull Ups Reddit

Scapular Pullup – Scapular Pull Ups Reddit

Summary: Scapular pullup is an effective exercise that targets the upper body muscles. It involves retracting the shoulder blades and initiating the pullup from that position, providing several benefits to the shoulders, back, and arms.

1. Benefits of Scapular Pullup

Scapular pullups are an excellent exercise for developing the scapular retractors, which include the rhomboids, middle trapezius, and lower trapezius. These muscles help stabilize the shoulder blades during shoulder movements and improve shoulder joint mechanics. By strengthening these muscles, scapular pullups can help prevent shoulder injuries in athletes and improve overall shoulder health.

In addition to the shoulder muscles, scapular pullups also work the biceps, lats, and upper back muscles. These muscles help improve pulling strength and enhance overall upper body muscle development. Scapular pullups can also improve grip strength and forearm muscle endurance, making them a valuable exercise for rock climbers and other athletes who rely on grip strength.

Furthermore, scapular pullups can help correct poor posture caused by weak back muscles. By training the scapular retractors to hold the shoulders in the correct alignment, scapular pullups can improve posture and reduce the risk of back pain.

2. Proper Form for Scapular Pullup

Proper form is essential when performing scapular pullups to maximize their benefits and reduce the risk of injury. Begin by hanging from a pullup bar with an overhand grip and arms fully extended. Engage the scapular retractors by pulling the shoulder blades down and back, creating a slight arch in the upper back. Without bending the elbows or moving the torso, initiate the pullup by pulling the shoulders down further. Pause at the top of the movement and lower back down with control.

It is essential to focus on scapular retraction throughout the exercise and avoid using momentum or swinging to complete the movement. Keep the elbows straight and use only the muscles of the upper back and arms to initiate and control the movement.

Beginners may need to start with easier variations, such as scapular pull-ins or scapular shrugs, before attempting a full scapular pullup. Gradually progress by increasing the number of repetitions or adding additional resistance through weights or a weighted vest.

3. Common Mistakes to Avoid

One common mistake when performing scapular pullups is failing to fully retract the shoulder blades before initiating the pullup. This can lead to compensations with other muscle groups and reduced effectiveness of the exercise. Make sure to engage the scapular retractors fully and maintain that engagement throughout the exercise.

Another common mistake is using momentum or swinging to complete the movement. This reduces the load on the targeted muscles and can increase the risk of injury. Aim to control the movement through the scapular retractors and avoid using momentum to complete the exercise.

Also, avoid hunching the shoulders or rounding the upper back during the exercise, as this can reduce the range of motion and minimize the effectiveness of the exercise. Keep the chest lifted and the spine neutral to optimize the exercise’s benefits.

4. Variations and Progressions

There are several variations and progressions of the scapular pullup that can be used to increase the exercise’s difficulty or target specific muscle groups. One simple progression is to add weight to the exercise by wearing a weighted vest or holding a dumbbell between the feet.

Another variation is the archer pullup, which involves pulling to one side while extending the other arm overhead. This variation increases the load on the scapular retractors and obliques while improving shoulder mobility and stability.

The clapping pullup is another advanced variation that involves clapping the hands at the top of the movement. This variation requires explosive power and upper body strength while improving grip strength, coordination, and agility.


Scapular pullups are an excellent exercise for athletes and fitness enthusiasts looking to improve upper body strength, shoulder health, and posture. By engaging the scapular retractors and initiating the pullup from that position, scapular pullups work several upper body muscle groups while reducing the risk of injury. It is essential to practice proper form, avoid common mistakes, and progress gradually to increase the exercise’s difficulty and optimize its benefits.

With consistent practice and proper technique, scapular pullups can be an effective addition to any upper body training program. So, if you want to improve your back muscles and shoulder joint mechanics, incorporate scapular pullups into your routine now!

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