T Nation

Help With Shoulder ROM

shoulders developed nicely, as well as lats. Trouble is, I have severly restricted ROM in ext rotation. To demonstrate, it hurts for me to hang from a bar with an underhand grip. Straight bar curls hurt in the bottom position should I do them. (crediting Alwyn, havent earned curling privledges with piss poor chin capability).

WIthout weight, arms extended overhead, I can’t get more than about a 90 degree angle formed by my thumbs with external rotation, much less keep them from being pulled fwd when attempting to do so. Recently my L shoulder began to hurt with no known specific onset. Have been rehabing it by doing 45 degree incline, face down thumbs up v raises. same angle pinky leading, rear delt raises. dumbbell external rotation, elbow at side ext rotaion, palms facing, elbows fwd dumbbell press, (LIGHT) and single arm, neutral hand position vertical pulldown. Equipment is not great and medical help is far away, I am in Iraq.

Could I ask the floor some suggestions to aggressively increase the ROM in my shoulders? TO add, Yes I fail miserabley the over under behind the back reach test. Was thrower, shot and discus in high school, some 2o years ago. I would really appreciate some help.

How is your scapula?
How is your back built?
Do you train the back equally as effective as your chest?
What about traps?

Stretch stretch stretch.
I would step back from lifting and concentrate on linear progression of stretching.

Ivan Ivankov at the 2005 Worlds

I have a very good athlete with a similar problem to yours; although not nearly as extreme. The following is a new stretch that I learned at our most recent National Team Camp. It will require the assistance of a partner.

  1. Lie prone on your back. Extend your right arm up into the air.

  2. Have a partner kneel next to your right side and, using their right hand, push your scapula (shoulder blade)very firmly both inward and downward into your side so that no movement of the scapula is possible.

  3. While maintaining pressure on the scapula, have them apply downward pressure to your right arm. This will result in the arm moving back behind your head to the floor. I have found that it is best to apply the pressure above the elbow, closer to the triceps.

  4. It may take a few attempts to get the hang of this stretch. Given your extremely tight lat insertion, only a small range of motion should be possible. If your arm goes easily down to the floor, probably insufficient downward pressure was maintained on the scapula. In that instance, simply reset and begin again.

I have found this to be a very beneficial movement and use it with that particular athlete on an almost daily basis.

Yours in Fitness,
Coach Sommer


back and front work are done rep for rep, set for set, plane matching plane. inre to scap mobilization,
Tough to visualize, also tough because there isnt a partner available. Another person recommended hangs with varied grips. overhand, underhand, neutral, mixed. He recommended lying, arms at 90 to body, elbow bent at 90 internal rotation with a very light weight in addition to my ext rotation. Thanks for your help. If you are generous to offer more, then great.

Prior to implementing the new stretch we also did, and continue to do, many variations of hanging and swinging dynamic flexibility exercises in many different grips. Rotator cuff work was/is also done daily .

As a matter of fact I have the most comprehensive shoulder prehab program of any of the other National Team coaches. None of the movements, however, were sufficient to solve the problem.

You are inflexible in a very specific area and it requires a specific solution. In addition, not every athlete is tight in this area and the necessary prehab movement is not well known.

Unless the scapula is immobilized, you will simply arch the back, open the ribs and pull the scapula out wide to accomodate the range of motion. This is not a noticeable problem until you engage in various movements which require overhead extention of the arms with a pronated grip.

It does however indicate a significant muscle imbalance and, left uncorrected, can lead to serious shoulder injuries down the road.

Yours in Fitness,
Coach Sommer

Thank you, Coach. I do want to address it. In your description, you mention prone but then also on the back. That is throwing me. As I understand it, prone is face down, or prone on the bone, supine on the spine. Childish, but I remember. I will continue to Google, but if you could point me to an article, a picture…Curious how and what to google scapular mobilization, …I’ll try.

Cuff work is helping. hanging stretch feels good. because the chin bar I use is at a good height, I tried an underhand grip, and simply rotated my body around, forcing external rotation of the arm. I am also going to lightly do some fuller range internal rotation work, finish with external work.

I understand the value of not recruiting other groups, altering posture in an effort to accomplish the movement. Happy New year to all from Iraq. Will be home in around 14 months, maybe less or more. To Health, Jay