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Shoulder External Rotation Mobility

Hey, it’s Jennifer. This video is for those of us who are missing a little shoulder external rotation range of motion.

This is something I really notice when I’m trying to signal a turn on a bike. I’m like, “Oh man, I can’t get to vertical.” 

To check if that’s you or not, you can sit or stand against a wall. Bring your arms out to the side, in like a touchdown signal or snow angels position. Then, keeping your back flat, see how far you can get your wrists to the wall. If you can’t get all the way back or you’re touching the wall, but it’s only your fingers then you’re a little short on that external rotation range of motion.

So what are some ways to work on that? One is a sleeper stretch. So if you’re lying on your side you give yourself some gentle overpressure. Try and get your wrist down to the floor and hold it there. You can do a prolonged hold for 30-60 seconds. Or you can in and out and work that joint rotation as it’s spinning there.

Okay, sleeper stretch is number one, so next is number two. Using some light weights as overpressure, you can lie on your back on the floor. Then use the weights to help you rotate back to the floor. Don’t do this if it’s uncomfortable. But that can help you get a little more range of motion so you can just work on rotation. Again, you can just hold it static, or you can do some touchdowns on the floor. If you’re not quite there, you’ll be hovering a little bit. As long as that’s not uncomfortable with the weight pushing you back down towards the floor, that’s a good option too.

The third option we’re going to go over today is using the stick to help you. So put your hand in like a handshake position and hang on to the stick. Then you’re going to spin it so that it comes down and catches your elbow. Open up your fingers a little bit so it’s not cranking on your wrist and then you can gently pull the stick to get a external range of motion stretch. If that cranks on your wrist too much, you can grab a towel or something to  give you a little bit of extra leeway. 

Alright, so there’s three ways to work on external range of motion. Great to do if you’re into lifting weights and you do stuff in front rack position. These are all great warm ups to help you with the front rack position, or just anything where you’re going to rotate out. So like throwing a ball or riding your bike and just trying to stay safe out there. Give it a try. Let us know what you think. Thanks!

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Here at Peak Endurance Performance & Physical Therapy we help active adults in the Madison Area get back to the activities they love without pain or limitations. We see people of all ages, ability levels, and individuals trying to get back to a multitude of movements including: getting back into running, women postpartum, CrossFit athletes, climbers, gymnasts, wrestlers, overhead athletes, and your recreational weekend warrior. If you’re looking to get back to the activities that give you meaning, relieve stress, and make you feel like you again, feel free to reach out below and we’ll see if we’re the right fit for you.