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Júlíus G. Magnússon
05-07-2010, 10:27 AM
I've been working religiously on my shoulder ROM since November-ish last year (via stretches and working on my posture) but I haven't seen much increase in flexibility. The most increase I saw was when I got some foam rollers and started foam rolling my lats/t-spine/etc a couple of weeks ago. I saw some slight immediate changes, but then nothing much. (I've basically been doing DeFranco's Simple Six twice a day with some extra emphasis on the lats and t-spine.)

I have trouble fully extending any overhead movements and push jerks are basically out the question - always dropping the weight forward. (Overhead squats and snatches are no problem for me, however.) Also, handstands are impossible without severe arching. Basically, I can't extend my arms fully overhead without them either drifting out in front of me and/or arching my back.

I've been working on this for about 6 months now, and I'm getting pretty pissed at the lack of progress.

Any suggestions? At all? Please?

Also, I've been suggested by some friends that dropping the bench press may help loosen up the shoulders (and heard of powerlifters with very tight shoulders) - Does anyone have any experiences with dropping the bench and increasing shoulder ROM? I've been benching very regularly, but I would be willing to give it up.

Donald Lee
05-07-2010, 11:04 AM
What stretches have you been doing, how often, and with what method?

Júlíus G. Magnússon
05-07-2010, 01:50 PM
Lately it's been DeFranco's Simple Six (http://www.defrancostraining.com/ask_joe/archives/ask_joe_08-10-31.html#question02), twice a day. With extra dislocates and foam rolling.

Before finding the Simple Six it was dislocates with a broomstick or band, pec stretches, the kneeling chair thing and lat stretches, like the ones in Simple six two times per a day. (Static - 2-4 sets of 15-30s each time.)


In addition to Simple Six I've been doing some of Kelly Starrett's shoulder mobility stuff before workouts and post workout, I do mostly static stretches, usually two sets of 20-30ish seconds of pec stretches, weighted bar hangs and skin the cat stretches. Also, putting a small bar through the rings and trying to force myself into the proper overhead position. Along with kneeling shoulder stretches... where I kneel in front of the wall bar thingies trying to open my shoulders. (Tried those last ones with a chair as PNF stretches throughout the day but it started giving my elbow some discomfort.)

I try to spend about 15 minutes stretching like this after every workout but end up dropping it about once a week due to time constraints. So, about 3-4 times per week for that.

(Admittedly, there were a couple of weeks around Christmas where I didn't do any stretching at all but other than I've been very consistent.)

Steven Low
05-07-2010, 03:17 PM
Here's a quick dirty list that I usually post a lot. Simple Six covers a bunch of of the below btw.

Start doing these things:

1. Posterior capsule stretch, sleeper stretch, external rotation stretch

2. Lats stretch, pec stretch, pec minor massage. Can use basketball or other ball and lie on top of it for pec rolling.

3. Deep tissue massage all around the scapula; anterior, lateral and posterior shoulder; coracobrachialis, biceps brachii, and brachialis.

4. Nerve glides (google first link)

5. Band dislocates and wall slides

6. Foam roll thoracic spine (put 45s on your chest for deeper stretch). Also, roll side to side as you are rolling and try to arch your back


Add in some german hangs/skin the cats... really helps out the shoulders a lot. Also, hanging from a bar with weight or slow swings may help.

Donald Lee
05-07-2010, 04:35 PM
This is also a great stretch:

http://sanfranciscocrossfit.blogspot.com/2009/02/ummm-youre-overhead-break-is-on.html

Tyler Micheli
05-07-2010, 06:04 PM
Another one from SFCF
http://sanfranciscocrossfit.blogspot.com/2009/02/your-poor-lats-instructions-for-care.html

This one helped with my clean rack immensely
http://www.crossfitinvictus.com/blog/2010/01/monday-january-11-2010/

To compliment the second
http://www.exrx.net/Stretches/Subscapularis/Broomstick.html


There's another resource that, for the life of me, I can't find right now. It describes the upward rotation of the scapula during the overhead lifts/supports and a process for ingraining that pattern/feeling. Basically it's just snatch grip pressing a dowel from behind the neck, but focusing on the shoulder positioning and engaging all the musculature at the start and throughout the lift. Really locking that in. After 5 slow reps move your grip in a bit, repeat, and continue until you get to a width where things start to tighten up and inhibit movement. Move the grip out just a bit and then drill home that proper movement with some good reps. After a couple sessions of this you should be able to get a narrower grip and not feel any impingement or movement inhibition and you can move the grip in closer to open up new range.

That process has helped me fix my elbow (hell, whole arm/shoulder) positioning in the snatch and jerk. I work it in before most workouts now (it's quick), first with the dowel and then the bar, and then the weights feel to be in a much better position during the lifts.

Steve Shafley
05-07-2010, 09:11 PM
daisy chain two bands together, fasten them through the top of a squat rack.

loop the other end through a piece of PVC.

facing away, hold the pvc in a snatch grip and walk until you feel a stretch.

let it stretch you out for some time, gently at first then leaning into it. I'm talking about 1-2 minutes or more here. Anecdotally the longer time really helped me.

do some slow btw presses from that position. then move your grip in about a hands width and repeat.

Donald Lee
05-08-2010, 05:37 AM
With regards to stretching, the order of execution is the opposite of working out. You go from isolation stretches to complex stretches, so something like what Shaf wrote would work even bitter after doing the external rotation, lats, triceps stretches first.

Júlíus G. Magnússon
05-08-2010, 01:38 PM
Solid ideas. Thanks, guys. Should have made this thread sooner.

Steven, I'm not even close to being able to do wall slides, but that's become my goal right now. Seems like a good way to track progress. Also, I've been doing skin-the-cats where I hang in the bottom position for a while - should I just do skin-the-cats and not worry about staying in the bottom position?

Another, also, German hangs is that just another word for skin-the-cats or something different (Google just gave me a bunch of bullshit).


Thanks for the links to Kelly's articles. I'll have a look through the archives, see if I see something else interesting over there.


Tyler, that stretch sounds like just what I need. I'll definitely be trying that.



RE: Rack position

I have a pretty solid rack position. I can front squat with my upper arms parallel to the floor while grabbing the bar (not just touching it). - Should I take this to mean that my triceps are plenty flexible? Because of that and I've had a hard time finding a stretch that I feel works them, I've assumed they are and not really focused on them.

Most tricep stretches I've tried just feel awkward... and not "stretchy."


Anyway, thanks again for posts. Some really good info in here.

Steven Low
05-08-2010, 06:05 PM
German hangs are skin the cats.... and you should definitely relax in the bottom of them for about 15-30s.

Steven Walczak
06-14-2010, 07:46 PM
Just wanted to say I have the same problem as you Julius. Jerks are frustrating most of the time and my snatch is creeping up while my jerks are not moving too much lately.

Mark Fenner
06-15-2010, 06:15 AM
I have a long post about shoulder issues in the Prehab "sticky". You might get some ideas (hopefully good!) there.

One direct thought to add to the thread: the shoulders themselves live on a platform -- the scaps. If the scaps don't move and rotate properly, the shoulder has to "make up" for as much of the lack as the shoulder can. That "make up" doesn't always work out well for the shoulder.

From your description, you might look at upward rotation of the scaps.

Best,
Mark

Steven Low
06-15-2010, 09:27 PM
I have a long post about shoulder issues in the Prehab "sticky". You might get some ideas (hopefully good!) there.

One direct thought to add to the thread: the shoulders themselves live on a platform -- the scaps. If the scaps don't move and rotate properly, the shoulder has to "make up" for as much of the lack as the shoulder can. That "make up" doesn't always work out well for the shoulder.

From your description, you might look at upward rotation of the scaps.

Best,
Mark
Yeah, usually teh biggest problem is scap dysfunction for most people.

A lot of it can be from T-spine or tight adductors (teres major, pecs, lats) or other poor tension-length muscles around the scap area.

Hence, why stretching/massaging everything tends to help out A LOT.

Steve Shafley
06-16-2010, 08:30 AM
Mark, those were some interesting tips you gave in that sticky.

Mark Fenner
06-16-2010, 02:56 PM
Mark, those were some interesting tips you gave in that sticky.

All from a long, dysfunctional relationship with my own left shoulder and scap.

Unfortunately, about 1.5 months ago I really dinged my left rotator cuff doing some ring dips (of course, I hadn't done them in a long while ... and I just HAD to try some. Ugh!). So, I'm in nursing mode. But, I've switched to high bar ("Oly" style) squats to give the shoulder/scap some room to heal ("PL" style squats put a lot of pressure on my left rotator cuff). Things are improving. I can bench with fair to high volume without a problem. Hopefully, I'll give some lower bar squats a go in the next week or two.

Best,
Mark

Steven Walczak
06-20-2010, 07:25 PM
Thanks Mark, I'll check it out.