Checking Shoulder Flexion

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Checking Shoulder Flexion | Week 55 | Movement Fix Monday

This week I am once again joined by Chris Johnson, PT, from

Whenever someone is limited in their overhead range of motion for pressing, overhead squatting, handstands, etc., they are quick to blame the 'shoulder' as being the thing that needs to be stretched or rolled out.

This is a generalized assumption that we shouldn't make. There are many moving parts to overhead lifting and the shoulder joint itself is just 1 piece of the puzzle.

The other pieces include:

  • the SC joint
  • the AC joint
  • the scapulothoracic joint
  • the thoracic spine
  • muscular components
  • connective tissue
  • and more

And of course having the strength and motor control in those joints is necessary.

Just stretching one of those parts without having a reason why can be misleading.

In this week's video, Chris shows us a test that can give us information on whether or not the shoulder joint itself is in fact a limitation for overhead lifting.

Please note, if someone has a lot of muscular strength and stiffness, this test may tell you more about the muscular components than the joint. Everything has to be taken in context. No test is perfect. This is one thing to consider.

When using the banded joint mobilization, be nice to yourself and do it lightly. There are only millimeters of rolling and gliding that occur in the joint. We may be affecting the neurology and muscle tone more than the mechanics of the joint as well. Point being: start lighter than you think necessary.

After doing reps with the band, you could incorporate some of the front rack drills from this post HERE.

To learn more about assessing overhead lifting and all of the components, see our workshop listings page. We have a large section of The Movement Fix Workshop dedicated to assessing and working on overhead range of motion and motor control.

Here is the Amadi et al. article Chris references.

Thanks again to Chris Johnson for being a guest on the blog.

You can find Chris at the following places:

Chris and I will also be teaching a 2-Day Workshop together in Portland, OR at CrossFit Oregon City on April 9th-10th covering the squat, deadlifting, overhead lifting, and running. More info on that event can be found HERE

Additionally, Chris will be teaching a 1 day workshop at CrossFit Industrious in Lynnwood, WA on Feb 21. You can find the info for that event HERE.

Thanks for reading.


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