T Nation

Shoulder Inflexibility


Today when i was in the gym i was doing external rotations on the pulley maching. I will admit to having weak shoulder, and my external rotation is weak also. The thing is, my external rotations ROM was nowhere NEAR 180 degrees.

It went to about maybe, 120-130, and then my wrist wound up kicking in and pulling a bit, but i still could barely get to 180 deg.

Do u guys have any stretches/advice on loosening up/making my shoulder more flexibile?

Thanks alot



I had similar problems but then started doing the shoulder dislocate stretch as advocated by coach sommer. Take a long towel and grip it (wide) with straight arms (the towel should be resting on the front of your thighs). Keeping the arms straight move your arms from the front of yout thights to over your head and carry on till the towel is level with your glutes. Reverse the process. Just start with a wide grip and narrow it as you get better, keep the arms staright at all times.


If you want to be able to externally rotate further, you need to stretch your chest/delts. AFter working those areas, put one hand on the edge of a doorway and with your arm straight, turn your body away from your shoulder. Do this with different hand heights. Be sure to use a full range of motion on all your chest/shoulder exercises and balance things out with adequate rowing exercises for your back. Begin each workout with lots of shoulder circles. As you get more warmed up do the circles faster.


Do overhead squats. It'll provide a similar stretch to the shoulder dislocates described above, but it will also improve your strength in the stretched position. With inflexible shoulders you'll likely not be able to do a proper rep, ass to grass. First of all, start with just the bar and try to do 5 or more sets of 6 for a warmup, every workout. Just go as low as you can and keep the proper position, get deeper as you get more flexible. Also, do partials with weight. Set the pins on a power rack and do overhead squat lockouts, starting concentrically (i.e. start on the pins, lift, set the bar down, lift, etc.). Go lower as you get stronger and more flexible. The increased strength in the overhead squat position should help the flexibility as well.


When i do O-Head squats, I feel it in my back right under my shoulder blade. it feels like a stretch sorta... what does this mean?

Also, over head squats are hard for me because my military press isnt that good, so i have a tough time keeping the bar above my head for a while. I am trying to increase my military press (sorta) so maybe that will get better.

Thanks for ur help guys. ill put in all that stuff u guys mentioned




If your position is correct, you don't have to worry about not being able to hold the bar up..the problem will be keeping the groove so you don't lose the bar to the front or rear.
I have been posting this vid of me for quite some time demonstrating OHS. The bar should be behind your head. Check out my arms in the vid. They don't look very strong or big and I didn't feel like my arms were gonna bend because the bar was in the right position. Don't forget to pull your shoulder blades together and let your wrists roll back a bit. Also, don't do the death grip on the bar.



There is a workout on www.elitefts.com called the cuff complex that I have just started myself. In it there are a few movements that Dave Tate calls shoulder traction. Check this out


You might just be feeling your lats working. The lats are really important in overhead squats. Unless it's actualy pain I wouldn't worry about it.

It's not your pressing strength that's holding your overhead squat back, it's your stability with the bar over your head. The partials I recommended should help that. It's a matter of supporting the weight isometrically, not moving it. (Don't get me wrong though, I'm all for you increasing your military press).
Also, how is your military press technique? The bar position over your head at the top position in the press should be the same as in the overhead squat at the top, not forward but directly over your body. Try (carefully!) bringing your arms back at the top of your military press, or have someone watch you to see if the bar is directly over you.


I wouldn't do the side raises with the thumb down because this increases the risk of impingement.