Though mobility in the shoulder girdle is not the only factor at play during an OHS with less than ideal form, it is definitely something to think about as you begin to dial in the areas that need improvement.
The overhead squat
, when done properly, is a beautiful movement and
a huge component of the snatch
. With so many possible areas of limitation in your overhead squat — from hip mobility to core strength to shoulder stability
— it is important to start with one or two points of correction and go from there. In this article, we will focus on shoulder flexibility to keep it simple and to the point. These movements take time and practice; if you can be patient and work with the right technique, you will be better off in the long run. Having a really good coach to help you spot areas for improvement is critical in taking your fitness to the next level.
As a society we tend to sit quite a bit, and with a good amount of sitting comes inevitable slouching, which lends itself to tightness in the front of the chest. In addition, many of us may have focused mainly on chest and biceps before finding CrossFit, thus further shortening those muscles. It is a very common issue for people starting out, especially as it relates to OHS.
The exact muscles that need to be open enough to receive the weight in the correct and safest position — shoulder externally rotated, arms extended and the eye of the elbow facing up towards the bar — are the ones that are, in essence, shortened by all that slouching.
Think of when you are doing your shoulder roll-throughs: that tightness as you move the PVC pipe
behind your head is the area of the chest and shoulders where most people have issues. Though mobility in the shoulder girdle is not the only factor at play during an OHS with less than ideal form, it is definitely something to think about as you begin to dial in the areas that need improvement. Beyond the lift itself, having the flexibility to bail safely with the option to throw the bar behind you is also a critical aspect of this lift.
These 5 post-CrossFit yoga poses for overhead squats are not only great for after the WOD, but are also really helpful for improving mobility in the entire shoulder girdle, as they include auxiliary muscles that aid in shoulder rotation and movement. As you start to move through each of these stretches, you will notice areas you feel more than others. You will want to spend more time focusing on those particular muscles. Stretch number 5, the Variation of Parsva Danurasana, is the stretch that directly targets the front of the chest and shoulders, just like your shoulder roll-throughs.
Realize that increasing flexibility in the shoulder girdle will take time and regular practice. These are just some of the ways you can increase your shoulder mobility. As always, try different things to find what works best for you.
If you are not stretching post-WOD, then make sure to warm up a bit before you do these shoulders stretches. Spend 30-60 seconds or 10 breaths in each pose. Allow the body to relax through the breathing, and settle into the stretch.
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