Simple Solutions to Complex Problems
Over the years, I’ve performed thousands of postural and movement assessments. In doing so, I’ve successfully used push-ups as both an assessment tool and corrective exercise.
Here are the two most common movement flaws and simple ways to correct them. […]
Flaw #2: Scapular Winging
Scapular winging can be a complicated problem and possibly beyond the scope of even the most experienced coach. However, there are some cases in which a few simple, well-designed corrective exercises are the cure for what ails you.
To get everyone caught up to speed, a winged scapula is a shoulder condition in which the scapula (shoulder blade) sticks out at the back, particularly when performing pushing exercises.
Common symptoms of a winged scapula:
â?¢ Pain and limited shoulder elevation
â?¢ Difficulty lifting weights
â?¢ Pressure on the scapular from a chair when sitting
A winged scapula can be caused by one of two reasons:
- Damage to the long thoracic nerve: If the long thoracic nerve is damaged, it can cause paralysis of the serratus anterior. Damage to the nerve can be caused by a contusion or blunt trauma of the shoulder, traction of the neck, and can also follow a severe illness.
In this case, I’d highly recommend consulting an orthopedic doctor for some poking and prodding.
- General weakness in the serratus anterior: Here, the winging scapula can be improved with some specialized exercises designed to build strength in the weak serratus anterior.
If you’re dealing with a winging scapula and are unsure of its cause, play it safe and get an evaluation from a skilled professional.
There are three exercises to help correct and prevent scapular winging through strengthening the serratus anterior. During all three movements, pay careful attention to scapulohumeral rhythm and symmetry while also maintaining a stable pelvis and neck.
Each of these exercises achieves essentially the same thing. However, it’s important to utilize a variety of methods in order to find what’s best for the specific situation.
â?¢ Hand walks
â?¢ Arm shuffle
â?¢ Push-up plus
With the push-up plus, your hands should be no wider than your shoulders. Sometimes I’ll even keep my thumbs touching. This allows for an increased range of motion and demand on the serratus muscle.
The above exercises are normally performed for 20 to 60 seconds.
Push-Ups for All Occasions
Now, let’s incorporate push-ups into the business of building stability, hypertrophy, strength, power, and power endurance.