Behind-the-Neck-Presses for Recovery?

I know, it’s a weird idea. I’ve been dealing with shoulder issues for about as long as I can remember now. I originally thought it was due to some scoliosis caused by a short leg, but I’ve pretty much fixed that and leveled everything out down south using soft tissue techniques and unilateral training. Shoulder problems persist.

However, I have managed to isolate the subscapularis as the primary cause of my grief. The issue seems to be that it’s just exceptionally tight. I know that tight muscles are weak muscles, so I’ve done a lot of direct training on the subscap and had some pretty good success. However, I still tire quickly with the arm overhead with any kind of weight in it for long.

We all know straight-legged deadlifts work great for stretch overload of the hamstrings, keeping them strong, supple and at the proper length. In fact, I’m thinking that stretch overload is the holy grail for a lot of chronically tight muscles IF you can do it right. Can behind-the-neck presses do this for the subscap? I’m not talking huge amounts of weight here - maybe just the bar. I’ve been trying it. It seems I can get a great stretch DEEP in the subscap, but I have to really jiggle around the shoulder girdle to hit it just right.

If my idea sucks, do you have any others? Something that might help develop end ROM strength and flexibility in the subscap is really what I’m searching for. The classic internal rotation exercises really don’t develop END ROM strength or flexibility. I want to get back to lifting like a normal person, and a strong, injury-free subscap seems like a great investment.

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Try shoulder disclocations with a broomstick.

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To echo BBB, how did you isolate the subscap at the problem/cause of your grief? I also agree to avoid behind the neck presses for the same reasons as BBB stated. Your reasoning for wanting to do them is a bit flawed as well. The hamstrings and subscap are very different muscles in terms of their size and function. I understand that every anatomy book will regard the subscap as an internal (medial) rotator of the shoulder, but it’s main purpose is to stabilize the head of the humerus into the glenoid fossa.

Also, I am not particularly a fan of broomstick dislocations, which were recommended. The exercise places a heavy force on the anterior capsule of the shoulder, and I personally just feel there are better alternative exercises to be done to reach the same goal. If you are going to do them though, I strongly encourage using a band rather than a PVC pipe/broomstick, which allows for the shoulder to not be forced into a dangerous range and position and allows each shoulder to go through its own safe range. You shoulders (and most poeple’s) are not symmetric in terms of structure and ROM, so if they are done with the broomstick/PVC pipe both shoulders are forced to go through the same range.

I’d bet that if you worked on thoracic ROM and proper scapular positioning/stabilization, it would help out more than the BTN press and broomstick dislocations.

Soft-tissue work to your subscap plus direct stretching of the subscap immediately afterwards is probably your best bet… that is, if your subscap is actually the problem and is stiff. You can reach the subscap by going in through your armpit or hiring somebody who knows something. Also, to isolate the subscap with a streth, you should do end range shoulder external rotation with your arm down at your side. Also, what do you mean exactly by tight? I recommend reading these two articles on the subject:

Tight muscles do not always equal weak muscles, and tight muscles also do not always require a stretch (heresy I know) but hear me out… the human body is incredibly brilliant at compensating to protect more important structures, so its possible that your subscap is “tight” because it is working overtime to protect either your brachial plexus or the integrity of your shoulder joint.

For every person that SLD work great for hamstring length, strength and “suppleness” I could probably show you one for which it would only serve to aggrivate their issue, so I tend to doubt your stretch overload as a holy grail theory.

x2 to BBB and LH’s posts, also Ed mentioned getting checked out by someone to see about getting your subscap checked out and fixed, preferably seeing someone who actually knows about soft tissue injuries, and how to fix them. Good luck with it, sounds like your motivated to get sorted out.