Tall guys, the scapular pull-up targets the muscles responsible for retracting and depressing the shoulder blades, laying the groundwork for you to rep out a bodyweight pull-up in time. 

In this article, I’ll dive into the benefits of scapular pull-ups and provide a step-by-step guide tailored specifically for us tall guys.

Us the scapular pull-up as a tool to strengthen the exact muscles needed to perform a body weight pull-up in time. This exercise can also be used as a routine warmup on any upper-body day.

Table of Contents

Understanding The Challenge Of Pull-Ups For Tall Guys

Pull-ups can be particularly challenging for tall guys due to our longer limbs, often making it difficult to engage the necessary muscles effectively. Scapular pull-ups provide a controlled and focused movement that helps us strengthen the muscles responsible for initiating the pull-up motion.

How To Do A Scapular Pull-Up For Tall Guys

Scapular Pull-Up Advantages For Tall Guys

Muscle activation

Scapular pull-ups specifically target the muscles responsible for scapular retraction and depression, including the rhomboids and lower traps.

Shoulder stability

Engaging in scapular pull-ups helps improve shoulder stability, a crucial element for executing pull-ups with proper form.

Isolation of key muscles

This exercise isolates the muscles without the full range of motion required for a regular pull-up, making it accessible for those still building strength.

Foundation for advanced movements

Scapular pull-ups lay the foundation for more advanced upper body movements by strengthening the scapular muscles.

Scapular Pull-Up Disadvantages For Tall Guys


Other than being tough (but hey, its the gym, easy doesn’t give you success) there are no disadvantages to scapular pull-ups that could harm you more than a short person.

Tools You'll Need

  • A pull-up bar
this is a photo of a pull-up bar

How To Do A Scapular Pull-Up For Tall Guys

1. Grip placement

  • Start by choosing an overhand grip on the pull-up bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Ensure your palms are facing away from you.
this is a photo of tall Pauls palm forward for a scapular pull-up
this is a photo of tall Pauls doing an overhand grip for a scapular pull-up

2. Hanging position

  • Hang from the pull-up bar with your arms fully extended, keeping your shoulders relaxed.
  • Tuck your feet up towards your butt if they are touching the floor.
  • Or you can scissor your feet which will also engage more abs.
this is a photo of tall Paul hanging from the pull-up bar for a scapular pull-up
this is tall Paul scissoring his feet to do a scapular pull-up

3. Engage your core

  • Tighten your core muscles to create a stable base.
  • This engagement will help control your body movement throughout the exercise.

4. Scapular retraction

  • Initiate the movement by retracting your shoulder blades, pulling them together behind you.
  • Focus on squeezing your shoulder blades down and back.
this is a photo of tall Paul squeezing his shoulder lades down and back for the scapular pull-up

5. Controlled descent

  • After achieving scapular retraction, lower your body back down in a controlled manner.
  • Keep your arms fully extended and maintain tension in your scapular muscles.

6. Full range of motion

  • Repeat the scapular retraction movement for a set number of repetitions.
  • Aim for 10-15 controlled repetitions to effectively engage the targeted muscles.
this is a photo of tall Paul doing the first step of the scapular pull-up
Step 1
this is a photo of tall Paul doing the second step of the scapular pull-up
Step 2
this is a photo of tall Paul doing the third step of the scapular pull-up
Step 3

7. Gradual progression

  • As your strength improves, you can progress to more advanced scapular movements or transition into full pull-ups.
  • I create tall guy workout plans, click through and message me your fitness goals and I can tell you the reps and set you will want to hit.