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Do Pull-Ups Fix Winged Scapula? (Simple Answer)

Winged scapula is an interesting condition where the edge of your scapula protrudes from your back creating an appearance that looks a little like you have wings (hence the name of the condition).

Surgery can usually correct the condition, but for some people, there may be other ways of trying to fix winged scapula that are more appealing.

In this article, we discuss the relationship between pull-ups and winged scapula.

We discuss whether pull-ups can fix winged scapula, how you can do pull-ups with winged scapula, as well as looking at other exercises that might help the condition too.

woman with winged scapula

Do Pull-Ups Fix Winged Scapula?

Pull-ups probably won’t completely “fix” your winged scapula but they might be able to help improve your condition in some way.

Pull-ups help strengthen the muscles in your back, including those around your scapula.

If you can strengthen these muscles enough, you might be able to help improve your winged scapula in some small way.

It’s worth mentioning that pull-ups alone are unlikely to fix winged scapula, but they might be a useful way of managing and improving your condition while you wait for surgery or other treatment options.

How To Do Pull-Ups With Winged Scapula

The most important thing to keep in mind when doing pull-ups with winged scapula is to make sure your doctor says it’s ok to do the exercise in the first place.

If your medical team advise you to avoid this type of exercise until your winged scapula has been resolved, then that’ll be the best course of action for you.

However, if they say that pull-ups will likely be fine to perform with the condition, then the key will be to be extra careful and progress things slowly.

You might choose to do scapula pull-ups which involve a much smaller movement than regular pull-ups.

To do this pull-up variation, you simply hang from a pull-up bar and squeeze your shoulder blades together causing a slight elevation in your body position (this is obviously a very simple explanation of the exercise!)

Regular pull-ups may also be beneficial, but it’s extremely important to increase the intensity gradually to avoid placing any excessive stress on your back and scapula.

Even if you only do one or two reps to begin with, you can slowly add more reps to each set until you’re doing your desired number.

Like with any medical condition or injury, a lot of care needs to be taken when doing pull-ups with winged scapula.

Listen to your doctors, don’t push yourself too hard, and listen to your body. If things get painful, then it might be an idea to stop doing pull-ups until things have been sorted.

How Many Pull-Ups Should You Do With Winged Scapula?

This will ultimately depend on the severity of your condition and how many pull-ups are comfortable for you to do.

If you have always been able to do a high number of pull-ups, then it could be that you’re still able to do more than other people can with winged scapula.

The main thing to keep in mind is that the intensity will probably be best kept low and you only want to do enough to help the condition, not over exert yourself causing things to get worse.

With this in mind, doing anywhere between 1 and 20 pull-ups could be a realistic target for you to do with winged scapula.

Obviously, this will also be dependent on the advice given to you by your medical team. If they suggest a specific number of repetitions, then this will be your best option to go with.

Are Chin-Ups Better Than Pull-Ups For Winged Scapula?

Topless man doing chin-ups outside

It makes sense that pull-ups will likely be more beneficial to winged scapula than chin-ups.

This is mainly because pull-ups heavily target the muscles in your back (including the ones near the affected area of winged scapula) whereas chin-ups are more of a bicep-building exercise.

Your back muscles definitely activate during both pull-ups and chin-ups, but they’ll be doing quite a bit more work during pull-ups.

This means that pull-ups are probably a bit better at helping to strengthen the weak muscles responsible for your winged scapula.

Other Exercises For Winged Scapula

Push Up Plus

Push-up plus is a fantastic (and highly underrated) exercise. It seems that far fewer people know about it than they should as it can have some great benefits for overall posture as well as for winged scapula.

The first part of the exercise is the same as a regular push-up.

The plus part of the exercise comes at the highest point of the movement when you try and push your upper back a little bit higher toward the ceiling.

It’s worth mentioning that the additional movement is small and you shouldn’t be straining or arching your back to make it happen.

It’s all about rising up a couple of extra inches at the highest point of the push-up movement.

This extra movement further engages your serratus anterior which is a key component of winged scapular.

Single Arm Lat Raise

Single arm lat raise is another exercise that can be helpful in managing winged scapula.

As always, take things slow, start light, and make sure your technique is 100% correct throughout.


In summary:

  • Pull-ups are unlikely to fix your winged scapula, but they may improve the condition by strengthening the muscles around your scapula.
  • It’s best to speak to your medical team before doing pull-ups with winged scapula.

That’s all for this article, but are pull-ups compound exercises? Or are pull-ups safe?

Hope this helped!