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External shoulder rotation (or lack thereof) is becoming a problem for me as I squat a little heavier.

It's preventing me from having a nice low bar and also forcing me to take quite a wide grip.

What are some techniques and stretches to help improve external shoulder rotation?

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take a tennis ball and roll out all areas of your deltoid as much as you can. do this everyday for 6 weeks – Pancho Villa Aug 23 '12 at 6:42
up vote 6 down vote accepted

I would recommend routinely doing the Diesel Crew shoulder rehab protocol and the associated shoulder warmup. The rehab protocol is good as both prehab and rehab for a shoulder that is causing pain due to muscle imbalances. There are good exercises in the protocol that address the external rotation, as well as many other uses you're probably not thinking about right now.

The main article that has a link to both the rehab protocol and the 2 minute warmup is found on DieselCrew's HowTo: Shoulder Rehab page. This will help address long term shoulder health, as well as your more immediate concerns.

Simple direct exercises that address the problem are:

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Trigger point work got me from being completely unable to hold the bar on my back without my left shoulder flaring way further back than my right. It may not do everything, but everyone does have trigger points to some degree, and if you have problems with range of motion, trigger points will at least develop as a result, compounding the problem, so it's well worth looking into. You should see some improvement within a couple days, even if it's not quite enough to do what you want until some weeks of work have passed.

I prefer The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook by Clair Davies to Trigger Point Self-Care Manual by Donna Finando, but both will work quite well.

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