Tight shoulders and triceps are a common occurrence among Olympic weightlifters and are often one of the first areas that we need to address when on boarding a new member to the California Strength team. As a result of the sheer volume of overhead movement that every Olympic weightlifter undertakes, the upper body is often left feeling stiff and tight. To combat this stress, it is important to maintain a mobile upper body with a particular focus on opening your front rack position. In today's post, we break down two different stretches demonstrated in the video below. Let’s take them one at a time.
For both stretches today, sit as shown in Hero Pose (a great stretch in it's own right for ankles, tops of feet and your quads) or instead sit elevated on a block or perform the stretch while standing.
- Once in your seated or standing position, begin by drawing your navel to your spine, keeping your shoulders soft with your chest open.
- Sweep your right arm upwards with the inside of your elbow facing your ear. Bend at the elbow and place your hand between your shoulder blades, near your trapezius.
- Then sweep your left arm as you did your right arm and wrap your hand around the outside of your shoulder.
- Inhale as you draw your right elbow toward your ear with your left arm.
- Shoulders remain relaxed and away from the ears.
Shoulder Flexion Stretch (Gomukhasana)
- Enter the stretch the same way as you did for the tricep stretch.
- With a full exhalation, sweep the arm behind your torso and tuck the forearm upwards.
- Clasp your hands.
- Roll the shoulders back and down, with your chest broad and open.
In the video, you are provided with the left side version of the stretch which is done using a strap modification. Place the strap in your left hand and enter the stretch in the same manner as described above. Instead of clasping the hands, work your forearm up towards the middle of your back, comfortably grab the strap and pull gently.
Do these stretches in the order shown for the most effective results and hold each stretch on each side for 30-60 seconds.
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.