Keep The Bar Close! Shoulder Internal Rotation - The Barbell Physio


Keep The Bar Close! Shoulder Internal Rotation

Many athletes have difficulty keeping the barbell close to their bodies during the turnover phase of the snatch (between completion of the triple extension and the catch). This alters their bar path and can result in missed lifts. One of the most common causes of this problem is poor shoulder internal rotation mobility (IR).

Not only will poor shoulder internal rotation alter the bar path, but it will change scapula positioning, putting the shoulder in a poor position to generate max force and place unnecessary stress on tissues of the shoulder.

The following video shows how and why I assess shoulder internal rotation. The athlete, Caine Wilkes, is one of America’s best Olympic weightlifters and is training to compete in the PanAm and 2016 Summer Olympics (hopefully!). He has had some recent problems keeping the barbell close in part due to stiffness into shoulder internal rotation.

Shoulder Internal Rotation Mobility Assessment

I like to have enough shoulder IR so that their hand can be at the approximate level of their lower chest. This means that they would have the mobility necessary to keep the barbell close to the body during the turnover without the scapula having to anteriorly tilt and get into a poor position for power generation and tissue stress levels.

Shoulder IR Treatment

First, manual therapy can be performed to improve shoulder internal rotation by work on the tissues of the posterior shoulder. This can include active soft tissue mobilizations, instrument-assisted mobilizations, joint mobilizations, dry needling, or self mobilizations.

I always like to follow that up with some static stretching and then to load. For loading, I am a huge fan of kettlebell screwdrivers and Turkish Get Ups. These two movements tend to do a great job of loading and working stability in the glenohumeral joint.

Learn more in Shoulder Performance For the Fitness Athlete.