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  • Writer's pictureAntonia Counts

5 Tips to Improve Shoulder Stability for Olympic Style Lifting

Olympic lifting is a demanding sport that requires significant strength and stability in the shoulders.

Proper shoulder stability is essential for preventing injuries and maximizing performance. Here are five tips for improving shoulder stability for Olympic lifting:

  • Strengthen Rotator Cuff Muscles

The rotator cuff muscles are responsible for stabilizing the shoulder joint. Weakness or imbalances in these muscles can lead to shoulder pain or injury. Incorporating exercises such as external and internal rotations with a resistance band or light weights can help strengthen these muscles.

  • Focus on Scapular Stability

The scapulae (shoulder blades) play an important role in shoulder stability. Exercises that focus on scapular stability, such as scapular retractions and push-ups with a plus, can help improve the stability of the shoulder joint.

  • Improve Thoracic Mobility

The thoracic spine (upper back) plays a role in shoulder mobility and stability. Limited mobility in the thoracic spine can lead to compensations in the shoulder joint, increasing the risk of injury. Foam rolling and mobility exercises for the thoracic spine, such as thoracic extensions and rotations, can help improve mobility and stability.

  • Gradually Increase Weight and Intensity

It's important to gradually increase weight and intensity during Olympic lifting to avoid injury. Starting with lighter weights and focusing on proper technique before increasing weight can help prevent injury and build a solid foundation for the shoulders.

  • Incorporate Stability Exercises into Warm-Up

Incorporating exercises that focus on shoulder stability into your warm-up routine can help activate the muscles and prepare your shoulders for the demands of Olympic lifting. Resistance band pull-aparts, Y-T-Ws, and resisted shoulder ABCs are examples of exercises that can be incorporated into your warm-up routine.


See our YouTube video below for some ideas on how to incorporate this into your next lifting day warm up!!


In conclusion, improving shoulder stability is essential for Olympic lifting. Incorporating exercises that strengthen the rotator cuff muscles, focus on scapular stability, improve thoracic mobility, gradually increasing weight and intensity, and incorporating stability exercises into your warm-up can prime your shoulders for Olympic style lifting and decrease risk of injury. If you are experiencing persistent shoulder pain with your Olympic lifts, it is important to seek medical attention to rule out more serious conditions.


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