Shoulder kinematics during the wall push-up plus exercise

J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2010 Mar;19(2):216-23. doi: 10.1016/j.jse.2009.06.003. Epub 2009 Sep 4.


Background and hypothesis: The push-up plus exercise is a common therapeutic exercise for improving shoulder function and treating shoulder pathology. To date, the kinematics of the push-up plus exercise have not been studied. Our hypothesis was that the wall push-up plus exercise would demonstrate increased scapular internal rotation and increased humeral anterior translation during the plus phase of the exercise, thereby potentially impacting the subacromial space.

Methods: Bone pins were inserted in the humerus and scapula in 12 healthy volunteers with no history of shoulder pathology. In vivo motion during the wall push-up plus exercise was tracked using an electromagnetic tracking system.

Results: During the wall push-up plus exercise, from a starting position to the push-up plus position, there was a significant increase in scapular downward rotation (P < .05) and internal rotation (P < .05). The pattern of glenohumeral motion was humeral elevation (P < .05) and movement anterior to the scapular plane (P < .05), with humeral external rotation remaining relatively constant.

Conclusion: We found that during a wall push-up plus exercise in healthy volunteers, the scapula was placed in a position potentially associated with shoulder impingement. Because of the shoulder kinematics of the wall push-up plus exercise, utilization of this exercise without modification early on in shoulder rehabilitation, especially in patients with subacromial impingement, should be considered cautiously.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Orthopedics / methods
  • Pectoralis Muscles / physiology
  • Probability
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology*
  • Reference Values
  • Rotation
  • Sampling Studies
  • Scapula / physiology*
  • Shoulder Joint / physiology*
  • Upper Extremity / physiology
  • Young Adult