This Subtle Pullup Move Will Make Your Shoulders More Mobile

Want a gorilla-esque grip, or have sketchy shoulder or thoracic spine mobility? Give this move from trainer Don Saladino, NASM a go: the scap pullup.

The scap pullup involves “hanging while getting [your] scaps to move,” Saladino explains in the caption of an Instagram post highlighting the exercise. He shows off the move alongside HIIT Burn founders Kelsey Heenan and Dennis Heenan.

It’s so simple, all you need is a standard pullup bar.

Start by hopping up to the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart, palms facing away from you. Your arms should be straight. Tighten your abs and squeeze your glutes as well. This shouldn’t be a full dead hang; your whole body should be tense, and you should be lightly tensing your shoulder blades.

From here, actively pull your shoulders away from your ears by drawing your scaps down your back and together, pulling your body as high as you can while still keeping your arms completely straight. Focus on screwing your pinkies into, and trying to bend, the bar to make this movement happen. Hold at the top one second, then lower back down to start, immediately going into a second rep.

Keep in mind, the movement itself is subtle. Your body should only be shifting up and down an inch or two, just as Saladino’s does in the video. And while scap pullups are sometimes called ‘mini pullups’, your arms should stay completely straight throughout the entire exercise.

Saladino credits “perform[ing] this at least twice a week” with “drastically improv[ing] the mobility in [his] shoulders and mid-back. So do as he does and make it a regular appearance in your workouts.

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While he doesn’t say how many reps he does at a time, we recommend opting to work on the clock, with 3 rounds of 30 seconds of continuous reps.

Want more moves from Saladino? Check out his Men’s Health training program, Superhero Shred, so you can use the same training principles he uses on his celebrity clients when they prep for action hero roles.

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