Mobility For Athletes: Intense Shoulder Stretch

Mobility For Athletes: Intense Shoulder Stretch

This intense shoulder stretch is a great warm up to open the front of your shoulder, from your Deltoid down through your Subscapularis (see image below). Lengthening of the muscles in the shoulder area will help reduce the possibility of overuse injuries that are common in sports like Olympic weightlifting and football. Perform this stretch daily to maintain a healthy, stable and pain free shoulder!

Video Included

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Mobility For Athletes: The Half Cross (Shoulder Stretch)

Mobility For Athletes: The Half Cross (Shoulder Stretch)

A few weeks ago we discussed shoulder mobility with regards to the overhead and front rack position. This week we focus around the head of the shoulder cuff and surrounding deltoid area. With many facets of the shoulder, it is important to isolate and work on each area for optimal shoulder mobility and flexibility.

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How good is YOUR shoulder mobility?

Fig. 1: 2012 Olympic gold medalist aleksey torokhtiy works with robert blackwell

Fig. 1: 2012 Olympic gold medalist aleksey torokhtiy works with robert blackwell

Most people lack sufficient internal and external rotation to truly execute overhead movements effectively. especially among the athletes with longer levers, it's critical that athletes possess good internal shoulder rotation. Here is a drill that we incorporated into The Barbell WOD to address these mobility concerns. 

Aleksey Torokhtiy is pictured left (fig. 1) working with California Strength athlete Robert Blackwell to to develop sufficient internal rotation in a clean grip Sotts press from the front rack. While working to achieve these positiotions it's helpful to have a partner to help you to pull your body into the correct positions. In addition to the partner stretching techniques, employing the static stretch (fig. 2) to free up lats and rhomboids that can help with developing internal/external rotation in the shoulder. 

To perform a correct Clean Grip Sotts Press:

Fig 2: Static stretch demonstration to build internal/external rotation in shoulders

Fig 2: Static stretch demonstration to build internal/external rotation in shoulders

  • Start with grip with that you can overhead squat easily.
  • Once you're in the OHS squat position work to build mobility in that motion.
  • Slowly move the grip in, approximately one finger width at a time until you arrive at your clean grip.

We recommend you do this exercise on recovery days when focusing on creating additional levels of flexibility.  We've programmed this movement into the current mesocycle of The Barbell WOD as an added emphasis on shoulder mobility.

Keep in mind that shoulder mobility is integral to successful completion of any overhead movement. Continuous application to improvement in all planes will ensure that your shoulder mobility is not throttling your progress in locking out those big lifts! For a full synopsis of exercises referred to in this article, please view our technical video overview!