Shoulder Pain with Snatches

Shoulder Pain with Snatches

Shoulder Pain with Snatches

One of the most common complaints we hear fitness athletes dealing with is shoulder pain during snatches or overhead squats. If you need help improving your snatch positioning or reducing shoulder pain, check out this video for a few great tips!


Shoulder Pain with Snatches Transcript

Hey everybody, Zach and Pamela from and today, we’re talking about shoulder pain with snatches, which is a really common complaint we hear from athletes performing the snatch. We want to talk about four things that are really important to consider if you’re rehabbing shoulder pain from snatches.

The first two are around mobility which is crucial for the snatch and the overhead squat, which challenge mobility more than almost any other movements in all of sports. So Pamela’s going to demonstrate a couple of overhead squats.

Ankle Mobility

And the first thing that I want you to really pay attention to is the angle of her shoulder in relation to her torso. We don’t want that angle to be extreme. The more extreme that is, the more we challenge the shoulder itself. How do we reduce that angle? Well, we want to squat with a really upright torso which means that she needs to have the ability to drive her knees over her toes, she needs great ankle mobility. When individuals don’t have great ankle mobility, or they overemphasize sitting back in their squat, you’ll see that the torso leans forward. You’ll see a significantly more extreme shoulder position.

And that just doesn’t feel good on the shoulder itself.

Lat Mobility

The second area that we want to look at in terms of mobility is going to be the lats, which are crucial in the overhead squat. You have to have great lat range of motion because as we descend down in the squat our hips flex, and we challenge lat flexibility more. And what we’ll see for some individuals if their shoulder mobility lacks, you’ll notice their arms rotate as they descend down into the squat. So pay attention to the point of Pamela’s elbow here. You’re going to see that turn back as she drops down. That usually indicates that somebody has tight lats and that rotating shoulder position under load just tends to irritate a lot of individuals’ shoulders. So make sure you’re addressing your overall mobility if you have shoulder pain with snatches and you don’t just focus on treating the shoulder itself, you have to look at the entire body.

Shoulder Strength & Stability

From there, we need to understand the extreme demands to throw a bar overhead has on our shoulder joint strength and stability. So I’m going to show you two exercises that I think are really good for overhead positions in athletes fighting painful shoulders.

To build up rotator cuff strength and stability. The first is squat Ys. So Pamela drops down to the bottom of the squat. She’s got her thumbs up while she holds a lightweight and this does not take a very heavy weight here. 2.5lb plates or five pound plates weren’t great for most people. And she’s simply alternating hands going back and forth bringing her hands out to about her snatch or overhead squat grip width. And what we’re doing is training her squat positioning as well as strengthening all of those muscles in her upper back in her posterior rotator cuff that are so important for shoulder health.

Shoulder Stability

Then we also need to address the fact that with throwing weights overhead, if we’re weight lifting, if we’re snatching, really rapidly, and we have to quickly be able to stabilize that. So we also want to train shoulder stability, and there are a number of great exercises for that. A really simple one that you can just incorporate into your warm-up on a regular basis is to do some overhead carries. So get a kettlebell overhead, a barbell overhead, dumbbells overhead, Simply get it overhead, have an active shoulder position where you’re pressing up into that, and go for a walk with it. If you want to make it more challenging, you could flip that kettlebell upside down. Make sure you hit both arms but train the rotator cuff’s stability, not just its strength because as a weightlifter, you need really solid shoulder stability mechanics.

For all of those areas, if you struggle with your ankle mobility, your overhead mobility, your shoulders strengthen stability. We’ve got plans at that have you covered. There are short accessory wods that you can add to the end or before your workout to get that extra little bit of work that’s gonna pay big dividends long term in terms of your performance and your overall health.