What To Do If The Push Plus Hurts?

What To Do If The Push Plus Hurts

I was flipping through my phone gallery and found this photo from Las Vegas…

Rick and Ric

The guy next to me is Ric Flair, a famous wrestler whom I used to watch on TV when I was young. It was so cool to meet him at the conference and exchange a few words.

Today, I will answer a common question that I receive from my clients about what to do when the push ups plus exercise bothers your wrist.



I had previously done a video on the best exercise for the subscapularis muscle which is called Push Up Plus. Sometimes, the Push Up Plus exercise hurts. This has happened when I have worked with a couple of clients.

What To Do If Push Up Plus Hurts?

CLICK HERE to watch the YouTube video.

Push Up Plus is a great exercise to target the ignored rotator cuff muscle. Here are a couple of Push Up Plus exercise tweaks you can do to make it an effective exercise instead of a painful exercise.

#1 – Knuckle Push Up Plus

Instead of using the palms of your hands, put your weight on your knuckles or fists. Sometimes people are really tight in their forearms and biceps which makes this exercise painful. So, the first tweak option that you can do is just going from open hands to closed fists.

Push-up Plus on Fists

Knuckle Push Up Plus

#2 – Forearms Push Up Plus

In a modified push up position, bring your elbows down to the floor and rest your upper body upon your forearms.

Push-up plus using forearms

Forearms Push Up Plus

#3 – Push Up Plus Under the Shoulders

Place your hands underneath your shoulders. If that causes pain in your shoulders, just move your hands out a little further to decrease the stress on the shoulder, and then do the push up plus movement.

Push-up Plus Hands Underneath

Push Up Plus Under the Shoulders

#4 – Chair Push Up Plus

In a modified knee push up position, grip the sides of the seat of a chair. Then, go through the push up plus exercise.

Push-up Plus with Chair

Modified Chair Push Up Plus

Performing this tweak in a standard push up position is a little bit more challenging as opposed to the modified knee push up position.

Push-up Plus with Chair on Toes

Standard Chair Push Up Plus

This exercise shifts the stress from the upper trapezius muscle and focuses more on the subscapularis muscle. This targets more the serratus anterior which is one of the very important shoulder blade muscles.

#5 – Wall Push Up Plus

Stand at an arm’s length from a wall. With your hands flat on the wall at shoulder height, add a little bit of an angle, then go through the push up plus movement.

Push-up Plus Using Wall

Wall Push Up Plus

By utilizing the wall, you’ll be able to place the pressure on your hands and keep the wrists in a straight position, which makes the exercise easier with less stress on the wrists and shoulder.

#6 – Push Up Plus with Feet Elevated

If your upper body or arms are elevated and your feet are lower, it targets the serratus anterior and subscapularis better, putting less stress on the upper traps.

push-up plus with feet elevated

Push Up Plus with Feet Elevated

The negative part of this variation is that you will work the upper trapezius a lot more, and for most people those muscles are over developed and over active, affecting how the shoulder blade muscle works. We don’t want to promote the upper trapezius muscle dominating things as it changes how our shoulder and shoulder blade work.

Give those couple of tweaks a try if you have pain when performing the push up plus exercise.

Take care!

Rick Kaselj, MS

For your guide to eliminating joint and muscle pain, check out The Top 10 Morning Movements to Loosen Up Your Joints, here!

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