How To Find Out If Your Lats Are Limiting Your Overhead Mobility

If you’re having trouble getting into overhead positions with a barbell, it may be due to your lats. But how do you know whether it’s your lats or another part of your shoulder complex? Follow the simple steps below to find out if your lats are limiting you.

STEP 1: Perform the Dowel to Wall Test with palms facing away from you.

Sit cross-legged with back flat against the wall. Hold the dowel with palms facing away from you. Keep elbow straight and try to touch the wall behind you with the dowel.

If you were limited during this test, then the rest of the article may not apply to you. The limitation in this test can be from much more than just the lats.

STEP 2: Perform the Dowel to Wall Test with palms facing towards you

Perform the same test as above, with palms facing away from you.

If you were not limited in step 1, but you were limited in step 2 then you may have lat tightness that is limiting your overhead position. The reason why is during step 1 the shoulders are in a more neutral position so the lats aren’t on tension. During step 2, the shoulder are externally rotated which stretches the lats more and can expose some limitations.

STEP 3: Foam roll your lats for 1-2 minutes each

STEP 4: Repeat STEP 2 and assess any differences

As you can see here, after foam rolling the lats I was able to get closer to the wall.

The shoulder has a lot of moving parts but there are certain parts of the body that tend be more limiting than others. Especially in lifters. Try this quick test and self-treatment out before a day at the gym where you will be achieving an overhead position. Let me know how it goes!

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