T Nation

Shoulder Flexibility


Recently I've been trying to learn the snatch to help build explosion. I run into a problem at the top of the movement because my shoulders just don't like being locked out at the top like that. I've tried doing overhead squats to help my body adjust to the position, but even just a standard 45lbs bar over head while squating feels akward. Let alone with any weight on the bar.

Is there any sort of stretch or lift I could do to help with shoulder flexibility like that? Or is it just a matter that repitition will solve?

Advice or comments appreciated!


When you say you can't hold the bar at the top, do you mean at the bottom of the squat snatch or while standing? What width do you hold the bar with? I guess I am about 6 inches above my head. Also, your wrists aren't held straight...they are extended back. Start with the broomstick if you can't work with the bar yet.


I'll second that motion about the broomstick. Even though it only weighs about 1 lb. pretend it weighs 100 lb.
Push up on the bar and try to stretch the bar. Tension the muscles. There should be no muscles relaxed. Also, try a small 1/2 block under each heel and see if that helps. Wean yourself off the blocks over time.



Your lats/biceps are too tight. I do two stretches for that. The first is extremely intense, so don't do it if it hurts your elbows or shoulders (all the sensation should stay in the lats and biceps). It's simply to hang from a pull up bar for 3 sets of ten deep breaths, progressively relaxing the lats.

The second is to grab at about hip height and back up until your back is parallel to the ground. Pull at the pole at the same time you back up, keeping the stretch in the lats and biceps. Again, 10 deep breaths for 3 sets. Incidentally, you're not trying to hurt yourself, so just look for a good stretch but no joint pain or white hot agony. Good luck.


Keep working on the overhead squats, even if it is with just a broomstick before adding weight. Do a couple of sets each day and really work on stretching the shoulders back.

Shoulder dislocates with a broomstick are another great stretch to use. Start with a VERY wide grip and slowly bring your arms (keep them straight!) back over your head until the broomstick is at the middle of your back. After doing 10-15 reps bring your grip in an inch or two and pump out 10-15 more, then bring it in further etc. Try to do at least 30 reps each day, gradually bringing the grip width in to your normal snatch grip over time. Warning, your shoulders will really feel pumped up after doing these, it's probably a good idea to do these after having a hot shower to help stretch the muscles a bit easier.


Sweet, thanks alot for the advice guys, i'll definately try the broom stick thing, along with the shoulder/lat stretches.


Also make sure you use full range movements for your chest/shoulder exercises.