Strength in Conditioning for Thursday, January 8, 2015
Many gym members are familiar with the shoulder mobility drills known as dislocates or pass through. This, slightly different variation is called an overhead straight arm pulldown and focuses on restoring movement of the scapula during overhead movement.
Instead of using a pvc pipe or wooden dowel, a theraband or mini-band is used. The tension from the band is a great way to practice scapular retraction combined with external rotation of the shoulders for a strong position for the overhead squat or snatch.
Olympic weightlifters often heard the coaching cues, “Pull the bar apart” and “Show me your armpits” which are used to encourage thoracic extension, scapular retraction, and external rotation of the arms.
Pay attention to the movement of the scapula during the exercise – especially the second part of this exercise. The first part (lowering phase) involves squeezing the shoulder blades in towards the spine (scapular retraction) as the arms move behind the head and lower.
As the arms raise and return to the starting position the shoulder blades should protract and upwardly rotate. This can be felt by wrapping the shoulder blades around the ribcage.
This is an important part of the exercise and hard to do for many gym members. Begin with an overhead squat grip and progress to a narrower grip (shoulder press width). Upward rotation increases as the grip from the arms narrows.
The overhead shoulder pull-down and the shoulder dislocate exercise both involve similar motions – the grip width is the main difference. The key point is to learn to feel the shoulder blade movement on the ribcage as mobility and scapular control improves.
For an example of each exercise, check out this great video by Ido Portal.
Ido Portal: Scapular Mobilization Routine
FlexibilityRx: Improving Shoulder Position for the Overhead Squat
Kevin Kula, “The Flexibility Coach” – Creator of FlexibilityRx™ – www.FlexibilityRx.com
Level 1 Test Prep
1. Push Ups: 40 Consecutive (On Knees for Women)
2. Sit Ups: 65 in 2 Minutes
3. Squats: 80 in 2 Minutes
4. Burpees: 20 in 1 Minute
5. Hand Stand Hold: 70 Seconds
6. Thrusters: 15 Consecutive 75/55
7. Wall Balls: 15 Consecutive 20/14
8. Push Press: 15 Consecutive 75/55
9. Jump Rope: 500 Consecutive Singles or 15 Consecutive Double Unders
10. Box Jump: 20 Consecutive at 20
11. 400 Meter Run: Under 1:45/1:55