full shoulder shoulder alignment elbows in or out

You may have noticed that Full Wheel Pose is quite challenging and you might think that the problem is your back, core or shoulder strength. Of course, each of these plays a role, but not as much as the simple technique of retracting the shoulder blades and widening the elbows. For whatever reason, there is a myth that elbows should be hugged for safety. This is simply not true. Have you ever seen a weightlifter press a huge amount of weight over your head? If so, you know that your elbows are not stuck and considering the amount of weight they lift, it is quite obvious that there is nothing wrong with this biomechanically. In my opinion, it’s not just okay to widen your elbows; it is a much better physiological decision.


This indication comes from the basic understanding that the shoulder joint is more stable when the arms are turned externally. However, hugging your elbows is too stabilizing, which is why everyone struggles with mobility when their elbows are stuck by Wheel Pose. Also, if we look closer, hugging our elbows will probably activate the pectoral muscles, not the fist of the rotators. Instead of getting bored or lost with the anatomical details, I’ll tell you how to find out for yourself by proving the difference while sitting.



  1. Bring your arms forward as if you’re going to do the Macarena, then bend your elbows, mimicking what most teachers have told you to do at full wheel.
  2. Wrap a strap around both elbows to keep them inside; this is often used in alignment-based classes.
  3. Without letting your elbows go wider than your shoulders, lift your arms up, stretch your elbows as you hold them together, and check how upright your arms can be.

Chances are you won’t be able to climb too high effortlessly. IF you are hypermobile on your shoulders, you may be able to do so; if Full Wheel works the way you do, keep it up. However, if you’re feeling a pinch in your shoulders, check out the tutorial below.


  1. Spread your elbows sideways as if you were making cactus arms.
  2. Raise your arms to the sky as if celebrating a victory.

You will probably notice that this seemed more natural and relatively easy. This is because it is NATURAL to raise your arms this way. The best way to approach Full Wheel Pose for maximum flexibility at the scapular waist is to allow your elbows to be out.

#full #shoulder #shoulder #alignment #elbows

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