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  • Writer's pictureEzara

Shoulder Mobility + Strength

>>>The shoulder is a complex joint, requiring a combination of multidirectional mobility, stability, and strength. When addressing the shoulder, our goal is to challenge the shoulder in a variety of ways.

*Disclaimer: The exercise selection below will vary person to person, but in my opinion, the ultimate goal should place emphasis on movement, strength and education (always!).

>>>Here are a few examples of easy ways to improve your shoulder mobility as well as build your shoulder strength as a gymnast:

1. Quadruped Shoulder CARs (Controlled Articular Rotation):

First, start in quadruped (on your hands and knees) and try this using a light 1# weight (or a can of soup) in your hand. Begin with your elbow bent and hand above your head. Lift your hand and extend the elbow and rotated the arm around lifting it higher. End with bringing your arm tight to your side. I then recommend bending the elbow and placing the back of your hand on your back (creating a "chicken wing"-the person in the video below does not do this, but this motion is extremely important for gymnasts to have and to be able to control). Reverse this movement. Do 10 reps on each side.

2. Prone External Rotation Lift Overs:

Lay on your stomach and have your elbows bent at shoulder height. Keep your elbow on the ground and just lift your hand(s) up and over an item (such as a can of soup). You can do this one arm at a time, or do both arms at the same time. Then return to start the same way. The video below just has him lifting his hand off the ground, start this way and then progress to lifting over an item. Do 10-15 reps.

3. Prone Shoulder Hurdles:

Try this with varying heights of objects (ie. a can of soup, windex, and last a candle) and using both arms instead of one to challenge yourself. Lift you arm as high as you can over your objects, make sure the highest object is placed at the position when your arms are out to the side ("T" position-in the video- this is the middle kettle bell). Do 5-10 reps on each side.

4. Bent Over Rear Deltoid Raise:

Slightly bend the elbow, keeping the shoulder blades retracted (squeezing together) and depressed (shoulders down aka not in your ears) slowly brings arms out to the side. Be sure to keep the trunk steady with little to n movement. Perform this exercise with both arms at the same time. Do 3x15-20 reps on both sides, use a light to medium weight for this.

5. Seated (Tempo) Z Press:

This is set at a 4-1-4-0 tempo meaning 4" (seconds) down, 1" at the bottom, 4" up, and 0" at the top. Use extreme control and a neutral grip. Do not move the trunk at all or use momentum (this is a compensation for weakness). Do 4x6-8 reps on each side, use a medium weight for this. Perform this exercise with both arms moving at the same time/tempo.

6. Standing Lateral into Front Raise:

Slightly bend the elbows and laterally raise the arms up to shoulder height then go into a front raise position. Perform 3x12-15 reps, use a lighter weight for this. Perform this exercise with both arms moving at the same time. The video below has her starting with a front raise, I prefer to start with a lateral raise.


Your strength or mobility will not change overnight, it will take between 6-8 to have any lasting adaptations/changes. As always this is a general program. If you have pain or discomfort, stop the exercise immediately and consult your PT or MD. If you are currently being seen for a shoulder injury, clear with your PT before attempting these exercises.

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