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Coach Sommer

Wall Extensions

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Coach Sommer

Wall Extensions are a relatively simple movement that can be quite effective in treating what I have occasionally referred to as "Bench Press Syndrome"; or a greatly reduced range of motion throughout the shoulder girdle due to an incorrectly designed exercise program. This movement also happens to be self monitoring, meaning if you begin in the proper position and follow a few simple instructions you should have no problems at all performing it correctly.

Wall Extensions

1) Sit next to a wall. Do not slouch, make sure that your hips and back are completely flat on the wall.

2) Raise your arms as though you were surrendering, pressing your upper arms into the wall. The desired position here is for your elbows to be shoulder high with your upper arms parallel to the ground; this should result in a 90 degree angle between your torso and your upper arms.

3) Once your upper arms are in the correct position, place your forearms on the wall so that your forearms are completely vertical. Initially, this will result in there being a 90 degree angle between the upper arm and the forearm.

If you are particularly tight, it is quite possible that you will not be able to even place your arms correctly on the wall for the starting position. In this instance, you may begin with the elbows pulled downward somewhat as long as the forearms are kept completely vertical at all times.

wall%20extensions%20-%201.jpg

4) Now, keeping your arms, hips, back and shoulder girdle pressed strongly into the wall, attempt to slide your arms up the wall toward a complete overhead position. The shape of this movement will be a circling of the elbows/upper arms upward with the forearms maintaining a constant vertical position. Once again let me stress that you must at all times keep the forearms completely vertical or you will greatly diminish the effectiveness of this movement. This constant vertical orientation of the forearms means that as your elbows rise, the angle between upper arms and the forearms will continue to increase towards 180 degrees. How close you come to opening the angle to 180 degrees will depend on the current level of shoulder girdle flexibility which you possess.

wall%20extensions%20-%202.jpg

5) There is a tendency to allow the forearms to come forward off of the wall as you ascend higher into the movement. Do not allow this. You should keep the forearms in contact with the wall at all times.

6) In all likelihood you will fail by a substantial margin to attain a completely extended overhead position. Do not however be overly concerned by this as at this point in time having an abbreviated R.O.M. initially is quite normal. Simply strive to go as high as possible, without compromising correct form.

wall%20extensions%20-%203.jpg

7) Once you have extended upward as far as possible, reverse your motion and attempt to not only return to your starting position, but to bring your elbows as low as possible past the horizontal; all while maintaining an upright posture and the vertical orientation of the forearms. Remember also to keep the arms pressed firmly into the wall.

The above would be a single repetition of wall extensions. For the beginner with very tight shoulders, a single repetition may take anywhere from 5 to 20 seconds or more. I recommend performing 8-10 repetitions two to three times per week.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

P.S. It is not unusual, especially initially, to experience some relatively intense cramping of the rear delts with this movement :D. Enjoy!

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Geoffrey Taucer

Wow. I tried this and was shocked at how difficult it was.

I need to do these more often. I think I might have some of my guys do them as well.

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braindx

Good essay. A bunch of the PTs I work for use this exercise to help correct scapulae dysfunction.

My suggestion to help those who are having trouble with this exercise are:

1. Stretch your thoracic spine. I personally use a foam roll and roll it out.. but there are other ways. Basically, if your posture is a bit poor your T-spine won't be as mobile which limits scapular motion especially retraction and elevation which are both needed for this exercise.

2. Band dislocates -- help shoulder flexibility.

3. Door (chest) stretch -- arms out at 90 degrees and hook elbows on a door then step through. Stretches out a tight chest.

4. Lats stretch -- from hanging on a bar or use the doorway. Grab the door frame, step back and round the thoracic spine a bit. Should help stretch out tight lats.

(both chest and lats are internal rotators of the shoulder when tight limit shoulder mobility)

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Nrxszvo

Great to see images and a video for this stretch. Although I only started the stretch last week, I can already see an improvement in my ROM! Thanks alot for the helpful information and essay Coach! Looking forward to see more in the future!

Peace and Love,

Mike

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sghetti

I started doing these when they were first posted in the other thread every single night, along with shoulder dislocates with my grip facing forward and backward. Dislocate when going behind you, and inlocate(?) when bringing it in front of you. After finishing my sets, my neck and chest feel GREAT. It's hard to explain. I feel like giving a fat guy a hug!

I'm doing these along with Coach Sommer's wrist prehab routine:

Palm Down

Forward, lean in

Sideways, lean in

Back, lean

Inward, lean

Palm Up

Inward, lean

Forward, lean

Sideways, lean

Back, lean

10 fingertip pushups

10 palm to fingertip pushups

10 wrist pushups

10 backhand to knuckle pushups

10 fingertip flying pushups

My left shoulder and right wrist are my problem areas. Coincidence?

Anyway, I've been doing this for the last week every night before going to bed. I was doing the backbend progressions too but my wrist started giving me trouble so I'm going to stop that for a bit.

Just felt like sharing how posts like these change my life. Take care guys.

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Cory Fair

I can vouch for this exercise. Coach first described them a couple weeks ago and I tried wall extensions on a couple of our football players (the rookies in particular are poster children for Bench Press Syndrome) and the difference is quite noticeable in that short time. It effectively filled a gap in the existing prehab program they had. Definitely recommend these!

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Kamali Downey

Man I love this place. So much useful information.....

I will incorporate these into my routine.

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Kamali Downey

I'm doing these along with Coach Sommer's wrist prehab routine:

Palm Down

Forward, lean in

Sideways, lean in

Back, lean

Inward, lean

Palm Up

Inward, lean

Forward, lean

Sideways, lean

Back, lean

10 fingertip pushups

10 palm to fingertip pushups

10 wrist pushups

10 backhand to knuckle pushups

10 fingertip flying pushups

That's the complete wrist routine? I've never see the first part....I saw him write about the second part.

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Harout Aintablian

Thank you Coach Sommer...this is amazing as all the other info you are sharing with us :)

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TheRustySpoon

i got massive cramps while doing this, is this normal?

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pogo69
i got massive cramps while doing this, is this normal?

ummm... ye

P.S. It is not unusual, especially initially, to experience some relatively intense cramping of the rear delts with this movement.

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Nrxszvo

Quick question about form when doing a wall extension. I am incredibly tight, even when trying to get into the starting position. Coach Sommer said that the forearms need to be touching the wall. Is the whole of the forearm including the hand supposed to be touching the wall, because I can only get the top part of my forearm and the knuckles/fingers of my hand to touch the wall.

I got some more questions to follow on from that, but I'll leave it there til I know how my form is supposed to be! Any helpful tips/information would be greatly appreciated! Having such tight shoulders cause alot of problems even with the simplest of gymnastic skills! :( SUX!

Cheers,

Mike

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Blairbob

As much contact as possible.

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Mr E

My shoulders are so tight that I cannot at any point have both my elbows and backs of my wrists on the wall, and the 90 degree starting position is kinda the end of the range of movement for me. This is the best shoulder stretch I've ever done, but because of my lack of flexibility I've often wondered whether or not I should put my strength training aside until I regain at least a normal range of motion. I have been avoiding tuck planche and handstand pushups for the time being, as I think they were the things that built the muscle in the first place, but I wondered whether coach or anyone else could advise an extreme case such as myself?

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Ed Frank

At the beginning of the exercise, what are you doing with the scapulae? I can just go into the "surrender position" or I can make an effort to also retract my scaps before I start reaching upwards. Whether I do that retraction or not seems to change which muscles turn on. When I say retract them, I'm not sure if I'm just retracting them or if I'm "unwinging" them.

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Robbie Main

Hi

Just a quick form check question - when completing the exercise, should you you be in the position of:


  • [*:3tuijswh]whole spine be completely flat against the wall
    [*:3tuijswh]scapula pressed up against against the wall - maximising scapula press to wall (no round shoulders)
    [*:3tuijswh]shoulder joint area be also pressed hard into the wall

I'm pretty much trying to find out what is ment to be done in the 'back department' and also what is the desirable scapula movement

Many thanks

Leo

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Coach Sommer
should you you be in the position of:

1) whole spine be completely flat against the wall?

2) scapula pressed up against against the wall - maximising scapula press to wall (no round shoulders)?

3) shoulder joint area be also pressed hard into the wall?

Yes, to all of them.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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iyaites

For people with tight shoulders, it can be very helpful to first do the Wall Extensions on the Floor. For example myself, when i first started doing those, my shoulders where so tight that i had trouble even attempting the "surrender" position on the wall.

On the floor, i had much more ROM, being able to move my arms slightly up and down. If you are so tight that you have great difficulty even moving your arms in the starting position, i think it may help alot having someone pressing your arms into the floor and helping you "getting started" :)

By the way this is a great movement for stretching/mobilizing the upper spine. The area between my shoulder blades always feels great after doing a few Wall Extensions! :D

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gymmie

When I'm doing the extensions, as I move down, I feel intense pain in my left back shoulder, only the left side. Could this be due to inflexibility or otherwise? Coz when I'm working on BL the pain is there too.

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Blairbob

bingo.

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gymmie

So should I continue with this exercise or is there others that I can do to loosen up?

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Blairbob

describe the pain more in detail?

mild or sharp and stingy?

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gymmie

I would say the pain is quite sharp and intense, last quite awhile before it goes away

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Blairbob

stop before you hit that ROM.

possibly do it on floor, lying down.

cuban presses in air.

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gymmie

Alright I'll try that out and see how it goes. thanks. Btw what's cuban presses?

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