Shoulder kinematics during the wall push-up plus exercise

Jason B. Lunden, Jonathan P. Braman, Robert F. LaPrade, Paula M. Ludewig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)216-223
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by NIH grant no. K01HD042491 from the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not reflect the views of NICHD or NIH. No other grants or funding were received by any of the authors in relation to this study.


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