Short on time but want to see how your shoulders are doing? As always if you are having pain or some other significant limitation in your shoulder, you should seek medical attention. If you looking for a quick home assessment, you’ve come to the right place. These tests look at some key aspects of shoulder range of motion. This list is by no means exhaustive or reflective of a full PT evaluation as it relates to the shoulder. However, it can help you to find some low-hanging fruit. If you have difficulty achieving the positions in these tests, it may be worth further exploring to prevent issues in the future.
PVC Lat Test
This test is designed to tell you if tight lat muscles which run from your sacral/lower back area to your shoulder can be limited your overhead mobility. Because the lat crosses multiple joints, it is a common culprit in lack of mobility. The goal of this test is with your palms facing towards you and elbows straight, you should be able to touch the PVC to the wall.
PVC IR/ER Test
This test will determine if you have a functional amount of rotation in your shoulders for weightlifting and other gymnastics movements. The goal is to keep your back and shoulder blades pressed firmly against the wall throughout the test. If your shoulder blades try to rotate too far forward or backward during the test, it may indicate that there is tightness on board. If you have some tightness, you could be compensating during your training. You should be able to touch the PVC pipe to your chest without shoulder blade movement when moving your hands down. You should also be able to get your hands to the wall without extra movement when bringing them up.
Shoulder Extension Test
This test determines if you have adequate shoulder extension range of motion. Shoulder extension is most important during pushups, bench press, and ring dips. Lacking range of motion in the biceps, shoulder capsule or other structures can cause compensation which can lead to injury. The goal here is that when you reach your arms back with your shoulder blades squeezed together, you should be able to get your hand to the midline of your body. If you can’t, you likely don’t have enough range of motion to perform the above movements properly.
**This does not constitute medical advice. If you are having pain, weakness, or any other limitation of your shoulder, you should seek medical attention. Internet blogs and YouTube videos are not a good substitute for meeting with a qualified health professional.