93% of People CAN’T Do This (Big Problem!)

Can you touch your fingers behind your back? If not, then you need to watch this video. I’m going to show you how your poor shoulder flexibility is holding back your gains and making you more susceptible to injury on some of the most popular exercises.

It starts with the test.

This is called the Apley Scratch Test. To perform it, stand tall and reach one arm up and over your shoulder to try and touch as low down the shoulder blade as you can. With the other arm, reach behind your back and try to touch your fingers as far up your back as possible. Ideally, you would be able to touch your longest fingers together.

It is actually an acceptable result to at least be able to touch the top of your shoulder blade with your top hand and the bottom of your shoulder blade with your bottom hand. The problem is, 93% of the population cannot do this. That is a big problem.

The problems become magnified as I said, when you then go and perform some of the most popular lifts in the gym with this mobility deficit. Exercises like the bench press, lat pulldowns, bench dips, chest dips and even barbell rows are all compromised when you don’t have adequate range of motion of the shoulder joint which is precluding you from achieving the touching of the fingers behind your back.

From a biomechanical standpoint, the top arm needs to have shoulder flexion and external rotation range of motion while the bottom arm needs to have shoulder extension and internal rotation mobility. Most will struggle to get the bottom hand sufficiently up the back. A loss of internal rotation is a common side effect of muscle imbalance and adaptive stress of the shoulder.

Don’t worry if you don’t pass though. I’m going to show you three ways that you can improve this quickly.

The first is by concentrating on unshrugging your shoulders whenever you do any of the exercises listed above. Instead of forcing your shoulder blades down and back, which can lead to an artificial pinching of the scapula together, just concentrate on keeping your shoulders down and unshrugged. This will take care of the shoulder blades and make it easier to keep the joint stable, preventing them from tipping forward into a dysfunctional anterior tilt.

The second thing you can do is include a sleeper stretch into your mobility routine. This will help to eliminate glenohumeral internal rotation deficit or GIRD. The key is making sure to keep the head of the humerus down to accurately assess the loss of range into internal rotation and to keep the stretch where it needs to be. Letting your shoulder pop up is only going to trick you into thinking you have more motion than you do and won’t help you to fix this problem long term.

The third thing you want to do is use either a band or a door knob to perform the test as a corrective exercise. Either hang the band over the pull-up bar and reach behind your back to grab it or stand in front of a door and reach behind you to grab the knob. In either case, from here you want to squat or alter your body in space to deepen the stretch on the shoulders and let the arm rise higher behind the back.

Try these out and I promise you that even if you can’t touch your fingers behind your back right now, you will be able to in no time.

If you are looking for a complete training system where mobility matters just as much as your muscle gains (because staying healthy long term depends on it), be sure to visit athleanx.com via the link below and check out the workout programs. Start training like an athlete today and see just how fast you can feel better than ever, while looking your best ever.

For more videos on improving shoulder mobility and how to get rid of shoulder pain, be sure to subscribe to our channel here on youtube via the link below and remember to turn on your notifications so you never miss a new video when it’s published.

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58 thoughts on “93% of People CAN’T Do This (Big Problem!)

  1. ATHLEAN-X™ says:

    *NOTIFICATION SQUAD GIVEAWAY* – It’s back!! Alright guys, I’m giving away a complete 30 Day Workout program to 100 lucky clickers within the first hour this video is published! Remember, this is NOT THE FIRST 100, but those randomly selected within the first hour the video is published. Click the link to see if you’ve won. No strings attached! 
    https://giveaway.athleanx.com/ytg/touch-your-fingers

    If you don’t win, no worries, you’re not going away empty handed. Just be sure you have your notifications turned on so you can get to my next video quickly and try again. Good luck and thanks for being a loyal subscriber…

    • Jack man says:

      Hey Jeff I have a question, how important are calories when the only thing ur doing is going to the gym for 90 mins to 2 hours 6 days a week? I normally am around 1700-2400 calories but my macros are Normally about 180+ grams of protein and about 140 to 200 grams of carbs and about 60-70 grams of fat! I’m in my 20s and am 5’10 150! I just don’t want to eat unnecessary extra food if it’s just gonna be stored as fat! (The difference between 1700 calories or 2400 calories is normally from some days I eat fish, some days ground turkey, some days ground beef all normally same amount of protein!)

  2. Ken Masters says:

    I think that since Jesse shaved his beard, Jeff should shave his head and complete the One Punch Man look

  3. Haris Salam says:

    Hagrid: Follow the spiders (and you will end up being eaten)

    Jeff: Follow the fibers and you will get gains

    • Abir Hasan Khan says:

      Good thing Jeff didn’t go to hogwarts cuz then he’d be mad at our gains going Wingardium Leviosaa~

  4. Simm Sitheb says:

    a lot of body builders are going to dislike this video because they can’t put their hands behind their back

  5. aabens says:

    By watching a bunch of these athlean-x videos, I’m starting to get anxiety from Jeff telling that every part of my body is problematic in some way

    • Simo says:

      Try to add a sport instead of just going to the gym, something that involves moving in all directions and using all your body. Boxing/martial arts is quite fun, and forces you to focus a lot on speed of motion and keeping a good flexibility. Also makes it easier to keep up the training routine in general.

    • Alaska the Akita says:

      I’ve got, forward head posture, rounded shoulders, pelvic tilt, muscle imbalances, bad nutrition, I do bad stenches and workouts, and the right ones I don’t do properly…

  6. 5 Days A Stranger says:

    I used to be able to do this effortlessly. However, i haven’t been able to do this for around 10 years now, because i’ve gained A LOT of weight.
    As we speak i’m on a diet and i’ve already lost 25 kg(55 lbs),but i have still a lot of weight to get rid off. I currently weight 120 kg (265 lbs). so i still need to lose a lot of fat.
    I hope than when i finally manage to lose all that weight and go down around 85 kg (187 lbs), i’ll be able to once again do this with ease.

  7. Artjoms Pralics says:

    Jeff: Are you doing any of these exercises bench press, dips, lat pulldowns, barbell rows?

    Me: F*ck, ok, only squats from now on

    • Roid Nerd says:

      ​@T1337P just because i used a name to put gaming and training together you can’t even get into half the shape im in

    • Roid Nerd says:

      @eLTIMIMI I gotta shoot and actually train and loads of people have been doing deadlift or some form or another i bet you weigh 150kilos look out of shape and think your some sort of strong man with a weak deadlift, If you can look anywhere near as good as i do and lift over 500lbs and weigh as little as i do but you dont haha you made me laugh out of shape peanut

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