Indiana's Shoulder Flexibility Tips for Wrestlers

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Question: What part of your body do you use a lot in matches, but often ignore while stretching?Answer: Your shoulders.

As you get thicker and stronger in your upper body, your range of motion decreases. And in wrestling, you have to resist an opponent's attempt to put you in an awkward position, which stresses muscles and can lead to injury.

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Question: What part of your body do you use a lot in matches, but often ignore while stretching?
Answer:
Your shoulders.

As you get thicker and stronger in your upper body, your range of motion decreases. And in wrestling, you have to resist an opponent's attempt to put you in an awkward position, which stresses muscles and can lead to injury.

Your shoulders are frequently engaged on the mat, according to Josh Eidson, strength and conditioning coach to the Indiana Hoosiers' men's wrestling team which placed 14th at the 2006 NCAA Championships. He says, "During training, you build your shoulders up. So to maximize their ability and prevent injury, you need to keep them flexible. I like our wrestlers to use a partner for upper body stretches. A partner can help you get into positions and hit areas you aren't able to reach by yourself, which will maximize your flexibility."

Try Eidson's partner shoulder stretches to gain Gumby-like range of motion. The Hoosiers perform them on upper body training days.

Shoulder Stretch 1

  • Extend arms backward with palms facing up
  • Partner grips your wrists and pushes your arms up
  • Tell partner when your threshold is met
  • Hold 15 seconds
  • Lower, then shake arms out for 5 seconds
  • Repeat 2-3 times

Shoulder Stretch 2

  • Extend arms out to sides of body, so they are parallel to floor and slightly behind back
  • Partner grips your elbows, trying to push them together
  • Tell partner when threshold is met
  • Hold 15 seconds
  • Lower, then shake arms out for 5 seconds
  • Repeat 2-3 times

Shoulder Stretch 3

  • Sitting on floor, raise arms, bend elbows and place palms on back between shoulder blades
  • Partner places leg against your back, grips your elbows and pulls them toward ground
  • Tell partner when threshold is met
  • Hold 15 seconds
  • Raise, then shake arms out for 5 seconds
  • Repeat 2-3 times

Coaching Points: Keep your back straight and eyes focused forward. Your partner should move your arms slowly, then stop when you tell him you're at your threshold.

Do
Dynamic stretches, like shoulder rolls, arm circles and arm swings¬óboth forward and backward¬óbefore and after practice and workouts

Partner stretches with your arms behind you, out to the side and over your head

Static stretches only if your shoulders are tight or injured

Perform stretching routines that you can do in 10 to 12 minutes

Use a jump rope, light jog or stationary bike to warm up before stretching

Stretch every day

Don't
Perform dynamic stretches if you're injured

Stretch when your body is cold

Let you partner control your stretch; tell him when you've met your threshold

Perform dynamic stretches longer than 30 seconds

Start performing dynamic stretches fast. Start slowly and increase the intensity as your warm-up progresses

Just go through the motions of stretching. Find your threshold and hit it

Hold partner stretches longer than 15 seconds


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock