Last week we discussed how to test flexibility of the latissimus dorsi (lat) muscle to improve overhead mobility. This week we will look at the Reach, Roll, & Lift (RR&L) which is a great exercise for assessing the overhead stability of athletes. It also makes a great follow up to any shoulder mobility work as it strengthens the shoulder with little room for compensations in other joints.
This exercise can be very deceiving as it looks easy, but performance with perfect technique is quite difficult. To perform, begin in a prone rocking position with one arm reaching out and your head on the other fist. Reach out with the first hand as far as you can. Next, externally rotate the arm by turning the thumb up. Depress the scapula (pull it down) before lifting the hand off the ground. Repeat each step during every rep.
Most athletes will show some form of compensation during the RR&L such as not keeping their elbow extended or letting their arm drift laterally as they lift. Athletes should strive to perform 20 reps with perfect technique.