The shoulder is a ball and socket joint that has a large range of motion in multiple directions. There is no single movement test to address overall shoulder function. We will be performing four stretches to test your baseline shoulder flexibility.
Shoulder movement in calisthenics
|Handstand, chin-up, pull-up
(arms behind body)
|V-sit, back lever, skin the cat
Measuring your progress
To measure progress objectively, you would need to measure the joint angle. Without specialised equipment (a goniometer), this can be extremely difficult. I recommend taking a photo of each of the four stretches below. It will come in handy for comparison when the program is finished. Here are a few tips when taking a video to compare results.
1. Wear the same clothes
2. Try and have the camera fixed at the same distance
3. Try and use the same location, and have the least amount of things in the shot
Stretch #1: Shoulder flexion
Stretch #2: Shoulder extension
Stretch #3: Shoulder internal rotation
Stretch #4: Shoulder external rotation
Adequate versus excessive.
We want enough range of motion to function optimally during the movements we perform. The movements we perform vary from person to person; the flexibility demands to perform basic calisthenics exercises will be different to a contortionist. Considering the shoulder joint is already unstable by design, increasing the level of flexibility beyond what is required may increase your injury risk by reducing stability. With that said, if flexibility/mobility in itself is your training goal, strength exercises need to be included at the ‘new’ end ranges to protect the joint.