Stretching for proper military press form

Discussion in 'Basic Training Principles and Methods' started by JKD, May 8, 2013.

  1. JKD

    JKD New Member

    I've been reading Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe to improve the form of my lifts. It's done wonders for my squat. I no longer hate squats, thanks to him.

    However, I cannot do presses as he describes thus: "The lockout position is correct when there is a perfectly vertical relationship between the bar, the glenohumeral joint, and the mid-foot."

    My shoulders are so tight (and always have been, to my recollection) that, when I raise my arms up "over" my head, they are actually forward of my head by a good 15 to 20 degrees. If I lie down on the floor with my arms by my side and raise my arms up off of the floor in an arc until they stop, they stop well before they reach 180 degrees unless I really arch my back.

    I do have very mild kyphosis, so perhaps that is contributing to the issue. In any case, I'm trying to do some stretches that will give me more shoulder flexibility to complete the press better. Do you have any suggestions for the best stretches for this problem?
  2. Lol

    Lol Super Moderator Staff Member

    Get into the habit of doing shoulder dislocates every day.

    Initially, you will want to get hold of a rubber exercise band that will allow you to rotate your arms, with elbows locked, from a position where your hands are resting in front of your body at thigh level, to where they are behind you at glute level. As your arms pass overhead they will naturally want to move apart which will increase tension in the band. Increase the tension on the band, as your shoulders warm up, by shortening the length of band between your hands at the start of the movement. Do about 50 total reps: start out slowly and speed up as you feel your shoulders warming up. You can do this several times a day if you have time.

    Using a band is kind on your shoulders. Once your flexibility has improved you may want to take things up a notch and start using a wooden pole or PVC pipe. This will not stretch and so you will be able to force your shoulders to work through their tight range of motion in a very controlled way.

    Start with your hands widely spaced and perform the same movement you did with the band. Gradually work your hands in towards each other while continuing your reps. You'll get to a point where you can't pass the rod overhead anymore (no cheating with bent elbows or one arm before the other). Mark where your hands are with some tape. Over time, try to keep make incremental improvements by reducing your hand spacing further.

    One other thing I should mention is that when performing any kind of dislocates you should be shrugging your shoulders up hard as your arms pass overhead. This will reduce the likelihood of any nerve impingement.

    Remember that, for any form of stretching, regularity (eg. stretching daily) is going to help more than one long infrequent session.

    All the best.
  3. JKD

    JKD New Member

    Good thought. I've seen someone do that one. I'll give it a whirl. Thank you very much.

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