How to fix scapula winging during bodyweight exercises?

Anna C

More than 5000 posts
Elite Certified Instructor
I am having to go back to wall push-ups and try to correct my form because even from kneeling push-ups my scapula's start to wing.
Going back to your OP though... wall push-ups aren't a bad idea. They're actually better than kneeling push-ups for improving your strength and your movement. And there are a lot of things you can do to tighten up your push-up form to imrprove your full-body tension. Maybe post a video?
 

RussF

Double-Digit Post Count
Going back to your OP though... wall push-ups aren't a bad idea. They're actually better than kneeling push-ups for improving your strength and your movement. And there are a lot of things you can do to tighten up your push-up form to imrprove your full-body tension. Maybe post a video?
I will do that. On graveyard shift for the next few weeks so I will do it when I get back to normal sleeping patterns :)
 

Anna C

More than 5000 posts
Elite Certified Instructor
I will do that. On graveyard shift for the next few weeks so I will do it when I get back to normal sleeping patterns :)
Good... I just got back from StrongFirst Bodyweight (SFB) cert, so would be glad to give you some fresh feedback! :)
 

Michael20

Double-Digit Post Count
I work in rehabilitation setting so I see scapular winging quite frequently. Many of the above responses have a lot of great info. Scapular motor control can present challenges for people because it seems like we learn movements through 'feel' and we need to have corrective exercises to help people develop awareness of scapular positioning. Also, we can't visually see our scapulae so this also doesn't help matters :)!

One additional thought to add about this topic... Since I've been learning about Strong First principles (as well as FMS principles), one thing that has really helped me tremendously is connecting the shoulder to the torso. This starts with breathing. Often times when I'm at the gym, just observing others exercising, I notice this is something a lot of people don't do. A couple examples are with the get up (roll to press especially) and pull ups. Connecting the shoulder to torso by being aware of breathing patterns and rib positioning (not allowing rib flare) has seemed to help me a lot with scapular stability. I've noticed with pull ups, while maintaining hollow positioning and ribs depressed, my power/strength is much better.

Okay, one more thought. You may also try doing some self massage or soft tissue work along some of the muscles around the scapula, for example the serratus anterior, traps, lats, and then performing correctives after this to help with reinforce change in muscle tone following soft tissue work.
 

Opiaswing

Double-Digit Post Count
I have copy and pasted a response from myself and a few other gents regarding shoulder health in a previous thread. I had some real tedious shoulder issues due to terrible forward shoulder posture; winged scapula was really, really bad at one point. I remember seeing a pic of myself from behind and was like "Wow, is that what I really look like? All hunched over?!"

Since doing the below, my posture and shoulder/scapula stability has transformed and this is literally over the course of 6-8 months.

pull ups cured my impingement issues. Which included hanging.
I do passive bar hanging, active bar haging with twisting, seated twisting and straight bridges.
opiaswing said:
I absolutely second both of these. I have been suffering with a shoulder issue for the past 9 months. Physio didn't help. Since i injured it, something has changed in my shoulder; it now clicks and cracks in ranges of motion which it never did before.

Passive hanging, followed by straight arm active hangs (almost daily) for time have worked wonders. Passive hangs will stretch the lats and open up space in between the humerus and the acromion allowing more space for the tendon to pass through decreasing chances of impingement, whilst active hangs will strengthen all of those muscles that hold your shoulder blades in place. You can then work up to active hangs with hollow body, then active hangs in an L sit, etc.

You also might be surprised to find how stiff your scapula are when you first try this. I will specify the only thing that should be moving is your scapula - just pull your shoulder blades down, but keep your elbows locked out - this is an important point. You might feel like you can't do this much without bending your elbows, but that's just because you don't have good scapula control at the moment... At least that was the case with me.

Since I have focused on doing them strictly with elbows locked out, my shoulders have experience a huge improvement in stability and scapula control and a decrease in pain. Friends have commented on my posture, too.
 
Last edited:

RussF

Double-Digit Post Count
I have copy and pasted a response from myself and a few other gents regarding shoulder health in a previous thread. I had some real tedious shoulder issues due to terrible forward shoulder posture; winged scapula was really, really bad at one point. I remember seeing a pic of myself from behind and was like "Wow, is that what I really look like? All hunched over?!"

Since doing the below, my posture and shoulder/scapula stability has transformed and this is literally over the course of 6-8 months.
These are the two types of hangs you practice?



We have lots of places where I work where I can do pullups so I will work on this throughout the day.
 

Opiaswing

Double-Digit Post Count
These are the two types of hangs you practice?



We have lots of places where I work where I can do pullups so I will work on this throughout the day.
Exactly!!

There's a great blog post by Ido regarding the 30 day hanging challenge which has a bit more info.

I have found the combination of the two to be great, but once the lats are stretched and shoulder mobility is good from passive hangs, straight arm active hangs should be the priority. But just play with it and see what works best for you. Hanging is very good for the shoulders in general; an orthopaedic surgeon actually wrote a book about it. Ultimately, he stopped doing shoulder surgeries because the success rate with hanging (or brachiating as he calls it) was so great.

The book is here: https://www.amazon.com/Shoulder-Solution-Prevention-Revised-Expanded/dp/1589096428

Oh, and these:
 
Last edited:

RussF

Double-Digit Post Count
Exactly!!

There's a great blog post by Ido regarding the 30 day hanging challenge which has a bit more info.

I have found the combination of the two to be great, but once the lats are stretched and shoulder mobility is good from passive hangs, straight arm active hangs should be the priority. But just play with it and see what works best for you. Hanging is very good for the shoulders in general; an orthopaedic surgeon actually wrote a book about it. Ultimately, he stopped doing surgeries because the success rate with hanging (or brachiating as he calls it) was so great.

The book is here: https://www.amazon.com/Shoulder-Solution-Prevention-Revised-Expanded/dp/1589096428

Oh, and these:

Sweet I will read through his 30 day hanging challenge. 15 bucks isn't bad at all for the book.

I seem to remember a video by Steve Maxwell where he talked about brachiating hanging and shoulder health as well as staying mobile to get off the floor as some of the most important things to maintain as people get older
 

Peejay

First Timer
I have copy and pasted a response from myself and a few other gents regarding shoulder health in a previous thread. I had some real tedious shoulder issues due to terrible forward shoulder posture; winged scapula was really, really bad at one point. I remember seeing a pic of myself from behind and was like "Wow, is that what I really look like? All hunched over?!"

Since doing the below, my posture and shoulder/scapula stability has transformed and this is literally over the course of 6-8 months.
I'm having the same chronic issues. Even swimming irritates my left shoulder, pull ups are a no go.
For the past few days, I've been experimenting with active and passive hangs. Passive hangs seem to pose no problem (although I only tried them for a short time). However, active hangs hurt my shoulder, except when I only activate the back muscles very slightly.
This puzzles me since it seems that passive hangs are usually considered to be the more "dangerous". That being said, my scapular control at the moment is not good so I may be doing something wrong.

Any logical explanations for (or experience with) this phenomenon? Any recommendations? I guess I should stick with what doesn't hurt for now (passive hangs), but I'm a bit apprehensive and also curious whether this would help me work my way up to fully active hangs.
 
Top Bottom