This drill is fantastic for “freeing up” the shoulders. The weight of your body allows for distraction to be placed on the shoulder, giving the head of your humerus (upper arm bone) more room to internally and externally rotate.
Proficiency with this drill will allow for more natural and fluid movements to come from the shoulder girdle. Although it may be painful to watch, it’s not harmful to the shoulder, provided you start slowly and methodically. I’ve recovered from shoulder dislocations and surgical labrum repairs on both shoulders and now have the capability to do this drill.
To modify it, practice it with your feet touching the floor. Almost all lifters with relatively healthy shoulders can do this variation and learn how their shoulder is supposed to rotate. In the second part of the video, you’ll see that I have a bar that’s the perfect height to do this from my toes. If you have a shorter bar, you can bend your knees and still do the drill.
Another great option? Hanging shoulder circles.