Video
Overhead Shoulder Stretch Series





Following is the series of stretches I rely on primarily to help with overhead mobility for the snatch and jerk. When I prescribe passive stretches like this, my expectation is that you’re training regularly through your incrementally increasing full range of motion, which provides strength and stability through that range and allows access to it under load.
 
Leaning Bar Hang
Hold a pull-up bar with a shoulder-width grip, walk your feet back and hang with the feet maintaining contact while leaning forward to push your chest through the arms. Keep your abs tight to avoid hyperextending the lower back and reducing the stretch on the shoulders. You can also rotate slowly to each side and hold the position you find tightest. Also move your hands in narrower after using your normal grip.
 
Rounded 1-Arm Hang
Hold a pull-up bar with one hand over the opposite shoulder. Hold the vertical structure with your free arm, and walk your feet forward. Hang while tucking your pelvis under to round your back and push with the side arm. The rounded back and sideways reach will help get to the lat better—play with the degree of rounding and push to the side until you find the best stretch. You can also rotate gently to access different stretches.
 
Door Jamb Pec Stretch
Place your palm and forearm against a stable vertical structure (like a door jamb) with the elbow at least slightly above the shoulder. Push your chest forward and lean slightly down. You can bring the arm higher as well, but keep the elbow bent and against the structure to avoid any stress on that joint.
 
Underarm Stretch
Place the back of your upper arm against a vertical structure with the elbow bent and lean your chest forward to open the shoulder. Grab the forearm with the other hand and push out to gently rotate the arm.
 
You can do any of these stretches as simple static holds for 20-60 seconds, or you can do some of your sessions with contract-relax or agonist/antagonist tension.
 
For contract-relax, move into the stretch and hold for 15-20 seconds. Then contract the stretching muscles to push against the stretch isometrically for 5-6 seconds, and relax for 5-6 seconds, easing deeper into the stretch. Repeat for 5-6 cycles, holding the final stretch for another 15-60 seconds.
 
For agonist/antagonist tension, perform the same contract-relax series. Then perform a series the same way but in the opposite direction—contract the opposing muscles to try to pull deeper into the stretch under their power.
 
CARs
Finally, you can finish each session with some CARs—controlled articular rotations. Rotate the shoulder through the fullest range of motion possible very slowly, using antagonist muscles to stretch along the way. I like to keep the free hand on the lower abs or pelvis to help avoid hyperextending the lower back, and ensure the motion is coming strictly from the shoulder.