Overhead Squat Shoulder Pain

by Onward Physical Therapy | February 25, 2020 |
Overhead Squat Shoulder Pain

Are You Experiencing Shoulder Pain from Overhead Squats?

One of the common things we treat here at Onward is overhead squat shoulder pain in functional fitness athletes. This is because the overhead squat position (really wide grip overhead) can be a stressful position on the shoulder. If you don’t have good strength and mobility around that area, this stress will increase.

We’re going to go through three drills we commonly use with people dealing with overhead squat shoulder pain to combat this.

Lat Stretch

First, we’re going to stretch the lats. The lats run in your upper back. A lot of times, when the lats are tight, it prevents a good overhead position for the overhead squat.

To stretch those, you’re going to get in front of a box. First, we’re going to have our elbows right on the edge of the box. Second, we’re going to drop our hips through with our tailbone tucked underneath us. That combination allows us to really stretch the lats.

Upper Back Opener + Strengthening

Moving forward, the second exercise we’re going to do is going to help open up the upper back. Our thoracic spine is really important to getting into a solid overhead position. If that’s a little stiff, it’s going to make our shoulders have to work harder. In other words, this can lead to an exaggeration of the extreme range of motion that the overhead squat requires.

We’re going grab a really light kettlebell and drop down into a squat. Next we’re going to keep our elbows tucked nice and close as we press overhead. As we press overhead, that’s we’re focusing on driving our upper back into extension and improving our mobility there.

Rotator Cuff Strength

Exercise number three is going to work on strengthening the backside of the shoulder-our rotator cuff. Getting these stronger will help us better stabilize weight overhead. I’m using Crossover Symmetry, but you can use any resistance band. We’re going to do an external rotation exercise. With this, we’re working on getting our forearm perpendicular to the ground with our upper arm parallel to the ground.

Then from here, we’re going to press overhead going into our overhead squat. Try doing a couple sets just until the backside of our shoulders really burn. Those three exercises are great moves to put into a plan to get you out of shoulder pain in the overhead squat position.

Need more help with shoulder pain?

Our physical therapy team specializes in treating fitness athletes, and we’d love to get you moving and performing better. Find your nearest location and schedule online today!