SCAPs, effeciency, and a very “garage” video….


Efficiency in exercise; I think about it from time to time.  Efficiency can be a midwife to the birth of a successful outcome in fitness.  A lack of efficiency can be the executioner of one.  Time and energy used unnecessarily, are both wasted.  Time and energy well managed, and used for the benefit of the body, are components efficiency – and success.  That said, I would like to introduce you to one of my favorite exercises, born of efficiency; The Step, Curl, and Press, or SCAPs as I call them.

The SCAP is among the most efficient of exercises because it contains these key elements of fitness:

  • Strength
  • Balance
  • Flexibility
  • And done in the right protocol, can have an enhanced cardiovascular/cardiorespiratory affect.

The Tools:

  • You will need a small step or block, large enough to stand on and support your bodyweight.  The block or step can range if height from just a few inches off the ground for the novice, to 6” or more for the more advanced athlete.
  • Two dumbbells; of a weight which can be raised overhead in good form for 10-12 repetitions.  As always, I suggest weights that will be heavy enough to be challenging, light enough to be achievable, and that proper exercise be maintained throughout.

 The Process:

  • Stand just a few inches away from the block, with dumbbells held at your sides, at arm’s length.
  • Slowly, place one foot on the block, seeking to find sure footing.
  • Slowly, raise the dumbbells from your sides up to shoulder-level, while simultaneously raising the back leg (the one not on the step), seeking to raise the knee as high as possible.  At this point you should be balanced on one foot, with one knee high in the air, and 2 dumbbells held at shoulder level. Hold this posture for a complete stop.
  • Balanced on one foot, one knee still held high, slowly extend the dumbbells overhead and hold them at a complete stop.
  • Still balanced on one foot with one knee high, lower the dumbbells back to shoulder level and hold at a complete stop.
  • Lower the raised knee back to the floor, behind the step, while simultaneously lowering the weights back to your sides.
  • Step off the step, pause for a couple of breaths, and repeat the process with the opposing foot on the step next.
  • Take caution to move slowly and stop for a 2-count at each phase of the exercise.
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The Protocol:

Sets, and repetition schemes are relative to one’s goals.  I usually suggest 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions each.  This will be plenty to reinforce balance, promote strength and flexibility, and will get your heart and lungs going for a few minutes. 

 The Benefits:

As mentioned, there are elements of strength, balance, flexibility, and core strength provided by SCAPs.  At some point in the course of the exercise, every muscle in your body will fire to some degree. 

  • Your abdominal muscles, your lower back, and your calf muscles are relied on heavily that you maintain balance. 
  • The small, dynamic muscles of the upper body are used to raised and lower the weights.
  • The large profile muscle of the legs are relied on to step on and off the step.
  • SCAPs are very portable and do not even require a gym.  With a minimum of equipment, they can be done at home, in the office, or in a dorm room.  

The AMAZING Video:

The Summary:

As a vehicle for function fitness, aesthetic fitness, and efficiency, there’s just not much better than SCAPs.  I usually include them in my workouts 2-3 times per month. 

 On occasion, I will set aside 20-30 minutes and use SCAPS as a cardio activity.  My protocol is to perform one set of 20 repetitions, rest 1 minute, and another 20, and so-on.  After 20-30 minutes of these done in this fashion, I’m covered with sweat, and invigorated beyond belief – despite that my arms and legs are more noodley than a warm box of beef chow mien. 

SCAP on dudes!  Be well.  rc

6 responses

  1. Love the SCAP!!! One of the very best exercises you taught me. Are you going to do a nice video of the roll on the ball shoulders and abs exercise? The one where your butt looks really big spread out over the ball before you kick the ball up to your abs?

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