Scapular Pull Ups – Complete Exercise Guide

scapular pull ups

Are you tired of the same old boring pull up routine? Do you want to spice up your workout and target your back muscles to have a rock-solid back? Look no further than scapular pull ups!

Regardless of its vast array of benefits – from effectively boosting upper body strength to improving one’s overall fitness level – scapular pull ups still remain relatively unknown to some people. With that said, consider rethinking its importance as an exercise that can help prevent injuries while providing tonal properties on the back muscles during workouts.

But wait, there’s more! Not only will I be showing you how to execute scapular pull ups properly, but I’ll also be diving into the benefits of this exercise, alternatives, and some tips to incorporate into your workout routine safely and effectively. So if you’re ready to take your fitness to the next level, keep reading to discover how much impact scapular pull ups have on lifting your physical capability.

What is Scapular Pull Ups?

Scapular pull ups is a fantastic exercise and provide numerous benefits for physical wellness.  They are often overlooked and underrated, but they are an incredibly effective way to target the muscles in your upper back and shoulders.

So, what exactly are scapular pull ups? For instance, performing scapular pull ups is an excellent way to develop the aspects which enhance upper-body muscle definition simultaneously. This unique exercise works by targeting the shoulder blade or scapular muscles – crucial elements responsible for stabilizing your shoulders and preventing potential injuries.

But why should you incorporate scapular pull ups into your workout routine? For starters, they can help to improve your posture, which is important for both your overall health and confidence. Additionally, strengthening your scapular muscles can help to prevent shoulder injuries, which can be common for those who perform exercises that involve overhead movements, like overhead presses or handstand push ups.

How to Perform The Scapular Pull Ups?

Achieving a well-rounded upper body workout routine may require incorporating exercises such as scapular pull ups. Follow these steps to properly execute scapular pull ups:

  1. Start by hanging from a pull up bar with your palms facing away from you and your arms should be fully extended.
  2. Make sure to engage your shoulder blades by pulling them down and back towards your spine. This should create tension in your upper back and shoulders.
  3. Hold this position for a few seconds, making sure to keep your arms fully extended.
  4. Proper technique includes releasing tension in the shoulder blades and ensuring they return to their natural position afterward. 
  5. You can repeat this movement for the desired number of repetitions.

The focus of the exercise is on engaging the scapular muscles, not on pulling your chin over the bar. As a result, your chin will likely not reach the bar during a scapular pull up.

Newbies needn’t worry; start slowly and work up in repetitions over time for the best results! Additionally, make sure to maintain proper form throughout the exercise to avoid injury.

Do you struggle with shoulder pain or poor posture? Incorporating scapular pull ups into your workout regimen could be just what you need. This challenging exercise work specific muscles in your upper back (such as the rhomboids and lower traps), helping to alleviate tightness and discomfort caused by hours spent hunched over a computer screen or carrying a heavy school backpack. So next time you hit the gym, give scapular pull ups a try and feel the burn!

Related: Hammer Pull Ups – How To Do, Alternatives & Benefits

Scapular Pull Ups Muscles Worked

A valuable exercise for focusing on your upper back and shoulders is scapular pull ups. This type of exercise can help to build strength in these crucial muscle groups. While they may look simple, they are incredibly effective at strengthening the muscles responsible for shoulder blade stabilization and posture.

When performing a scapular pull up, the primary muscles worked are the rhomboids, trapezius, and serratus anterior

The muscles of the shoulders and upper back are crucial for maintaining good posture – but they often go neglected in traditional workouts. 

That’s where scapular pull ups come in! These effective exercises primarily target the rhomboid muscles which sit between the shoulder blades working hard at stabilization while improving overall strength. 

One more muscle group responsible for controlling movement in your shoulder blades is known as the trapezius. It’s located from the bottom edge of your skull all through until about midway down along the spine. 

The last area, referred to as serratus anterior–sits sideways against one’s chest cavity helping to lift shoulder blades outwards & upwards. 

While performing scapular pull ups, requires significant effort generated by both biceps and forearm muscles – it also activates one’s lats to facilitate smoother upper body rotations; this way pairing up ideally with other exercises such as push ups, rows, and overhead presses in an upper body workout. 

Scapular Pull Ups Benefits

Scapular pull ups are ideal for toning and strengthening key upper-body muscles while also enhancing your posture’s alignment. Why limit yourself by ignoring valuable exercise variations like scapular pull ups? They offer key benefits including targeted muscle activation in key areas near the shoulder blades where other exercises might fall short.

  1. Improved posture: Scapular pull ups are an excellent exercise for improving your posture. By strengthening the muscles responsible for shoulder blade stabilization, scapular pull ups can help prevent the rounding of the shoulders which can lead to poor posture.
  2. Enhanced shoulder stability: Scapular pull ups can help improve the stability of your shoulders, which is essential for a range of upper body exercises. Strong, stable shoulders can also help prevent injuries, particularly in the rotator cuff muscles.
  3. Increased upper body strength: Scapular pull ups target the muscles in your upper back and shoulders, enhancing your ability to execute other harder upper body exercises. To effectively build up these muscles, one must dedicate themselves to a regular regimen that emphasizes exercises designed specifically for targeted muscle groups.
  4. Better mind-muscle connection: Scapular pull ups require a high degree of focus and mind-muscle connection. Practicing this exercise can help you enhance your upper back and shoulder muscle-mind connection, which might facilitate your engagement during other exercises.
  5. Versatility: Scapular pull ups can be performed anywhere you have access to a pull up bar. Changing the intensity and difficulty level can help increase the effectiveness of your workouts. One proven way of enhancing the sustainability and impactfulness of one’s exercise regime is by adjusting to the varying degrees of difficulty presented by differing exercises. In doing so, individuals can have greater agency over their progress towards desired fitness results while avoiding potential setbacks such as physical strain or burnout.

Related: Butterfly Pull Ups – A Complete Guide

Tips to Perform Scapular Pull Ups Correctly

Performing scapular pull ups correctly is crucial to reap the full benefits of this exercise. Executing the perfect scapular pull up requires mastery over several techniques.

  • Start with the proper grip: This plays an integral role in achieving optimal results from this exercise routine. Ensuring that your grip is right is crucial as it directly translates into succeeding at certain exercises like pull ups. So, commence by mounting yourself onto a secure bar while ensuring that your hands are spaced evenly apart at shoulder length.
  • Engage your shoulder blades: Before pulling yourself up, engage your shoulder blades by squeezing them together and down. Imagine like you’re trying to pinch a pencil between your shoulder blades.
  • Keep your arms straight: As you engage your shoulder blades, keep your arms straight. Focus on pulling your shoulder blades down and back rather than pulling yourself up.
  • Control the movement: Slowly lower yourself back down to the starting position, focusing on controlling the movement with your shoulder blades. Make sure to avoid using momentum to swing yourself up or down.
  • Gradually increase intensity: Start with a few repetitions and gradually increase the intensity as your strength improves. You can also make the exercise more challenging by holding the top position for a few seconds or by adding weights.

Remember, proper form is key when it comes to scapular pull ups. By following these tips, you can ensure you’re performing the exercise correctly and maximizing its benefits for your upper body muscle, strength, and posture.

Alternatives to Scapular Pull Ups

Here are some alternatives to the scapular pull ups that you can try to target some similar muscle groups and reap those immense benefits.

1. Scapular Push Ups

To attain proper posture and strengthen your shoulders, try incorporating scapular push ups into your exercise regimen. The exercises, otherwise known as serratus push ups, work on building up the serratus anterior muscles which provide support for the shoulder blades. In addition to being a great complement to scapular pull ups, they have a few other benefits as well.

To perform scapular push ups, start in a plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart and your shoulders directly over your wrists. Engage your shoulder blades by protracting them while keeping your arms straight. Push yourself back up to the starting position, still engaging your serratus anterior muscles. Gradually increase the intensity by starting with a few repetitions and increasing as your strength improves.

The benefits of scapular push ups include improved shoulder stability, enhanced posture, and increased upper body strength. Shoulder and upper back strengthening routines offer immense benefits such as injury prevention and pain reduction. With just a little dedication, incorporating these exercises into your fitness regimen is worthwhile for anyone looking for optimal physical performance.

Related: Ring Push Ups – Complete Exercise Guide

2. Face Pulls

Face pulls are an effective exercise for strengthening the upper back, improving posture, and preventing shoulder injuries. They target the muscles responsible for scapular retraction and external rotation, which are important for proper shoulder mechanics.

To perform face pulls, attach a rope to a cable machine or resistance band at about shoulder height. Grab the rope with an overhand grip and step back until there is tension on the rope. Begin by pulling the rope towards your face while keeping your elbows high and shoulder blades pulled back. Focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together at the end of the movement before slowly returning to the starting position. Repeat for several reps, gradually increasing the resistance as your strength improves.

The benefits of face pulls include improved posture, increased upper back and shoulder strength, and reduced risk of shoulder injuries. For individuals who spend extended periods sitting in a chair, corrective exercises can be exceptionally helpful. These exercises assist in counterbalancing the upper back and shoulder muscle strain caused by prolonged sitting, optimizing posture to improve health.

3. Band Pull Aparts

Band pull aparts are a simple and effective exercise that targets the muscles responsible for scapular retraction and external rotation. They can be done anywhere with just a resistance band, making them a convenient addition to any workout routine.

To perform band pull aparts, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold the resistance band with both hands. Begin by pulling the band apart, keeping your arms straight and shoulder blades pulled back. Focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together at the end of the movement before slowly returning to the starting position. Repeat for several reps, gradually increasing the resistance as your strength improves.

The benefits of band pull aparts include improved posture, increased upper back and shoulder strength, and reduced risk of shoulder injuries.

Incorporating band pull aparts into your workout routine can help to improve your overall upper body strength and functionality. That’s why it is a wise move, whether you’re just starting or have been training for years.



Scapular Pull Ups – a Simple yet effective way to improve upper body strength and posture. This exercise doesn’t require any specialized gear other than a pull up bar, all it requires is some sort of effort on your side! Through repeated practice, scapular pull up workouts will increase core stability which further leads to enhanced balance along with more extended athletic ability. Here are the key takeaways you should keep in mind from this article:

  • Scapular pull ups involve engaging the muscles of the upper back and shoulders that help to provide stabilization.
  • To lower the likelihood of experiencing shoulder injuries, enhancing scapular mobility and stability is key. A significant step in achieving this goal is by performing exercises that focus on these areas.
  • To perform scapular pull ups, hang from a bar and focus on pulling your shoulder blades down and back without bending your arms.
  • Other exercises that can help improve scapular mobility and stability include scapular push ups, face pulls, and band pull apart.
  • It’s important to start with proper form and gradually increase the difficulty and intensity of the scapular pull up exercises.

If you want to achieve better posture, lower the likelihood of getting injured, and improve your upper body’s strength, practicing exercises such as scapular pull ups that target your back and shoulder muscles is a great idea. Just add these practices to your workout routine and witness the positive outcome!

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