Mobility For Athletes: Assisted Shoulder Stretch

One of the most common complaints I hear from athletes and their coaches is a lack of shoulder mobility, most especially in the front rack and overhead position. The barbell assisted shoulder stretch below is great for opening up your shoulders and will increase your range of motion. This is A MUST watch for the Olympic weightlifter and CrossFit athlete.

Setup & Cues

  • First, the bar should be positioned at the same height that you would use to perform a squat. 
  • Set up with the crease of your wrists resting on the bar, shoulders pressing away from the ears, arms straight. Remain engaged throughout the stretch.
  • As you inhale, the legs are straight (for an added hamstring stretch) with all four corners of your feet pressing evenly into the ground.
  • On the exhale, hinge from the hip while keeping your spine straight, press your chest down, push through your arms and hold. 
  • Continue to deepen the stretch with each exhale.  Think spine straight, chest pressing toward the floor in front of your feet, belly button pulled in toward your back, and arms engaged.
  • Hold for a minimum of 5 deep breaths, the longer the better.

Important Things To Note

Working this stretch can help you to see the lengthened overhead position you are working to achieve with the bar overhead. Only go so deep as you feel a solid stretch. Discomfort is expected: no pain, sharp or otherwise.

Modification

Put a slight bend in the knees if the stretch feels too intense in the hamstrings.  

 

Do you have an mobility concern or area that you would like to see addressed? Please comment below! 


Sandra Arechaederra has actively practiced yoga for years but maintains a focus on its application for improving athletic performance. Sandra is an accomplished Olympic weightlifter in her own right, having medaled at the 2010 USA National Championship Meet, she continues her work with the California Strength weightlifting team on a weekly basis for mobility training and runs a mobility program implemented with the California Strength NFL Combine Prep Class every year. Sandra has her 200 RYT credential as a certified Yoga Teacher.

For daily yoga / mobility, follow Sandra on Instagram!

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Sandra Arechaederra

Sandra has led California Strength's NFL Combine Prep Class for the past two years through weekly mobility / yoga sessions that aim to increase both range of motion and aid in recovery for these athletes.  An Olympic weightlifter herself, Sandra set in motion the California Strength Women's Team by earning the teams first national medal in 2011 taking Bronze in the Snatch, Clean & Jerk and Total at the USAW National Meet.

Check back for weekly mobility / yoga posts geared towards athletes! For weekly videos, follow Sandra on Instagram.