How to fix an uneven overhead bar position?

Have you ever experienced an uneven bar while lifting overhead with a barbell and wondered why it happens?

This blog will explain the reason behind this issue and guide you through testing your shoulder mobility. By addressing the underlying problems, you can improve your overhead lift and prevent further issues. So, read on to learn more about how to fix the uneven bar and optimize your lifting technique.

How to test an uneven overhead bar?

In this picture, one of my clients is performing an overhead squat with a stick. I would advise you to use a light bar or stick before a heavy bar (20kg male, 15kg female) if you have not performed an overhead lift before.

As we can see the bar is uneven above her head. This can be due to her shoulder imbalance in how the muscles are working, that surround the back of the shoulders and attach to the shoulder blade to create stability.

How wide should you hold the bar?

She was holding the stick lots wider than shoulder-width apart. When testing shoulder mobility we are aiming to hold the bar above the head with the hands as close to each other’s as possible.  Try out each stages and aim to improve it as long as you ‘overachieve’ for your aimed lift!

What should you be looking for when testing? The bar position. When lowering yourself into a squat position the arms should remain straight above the head without it coming front of the head. Aim for straight bar and straight wrists. In this blog we are only looking at shoulder stability and not the position of the squat – knees, ankles and heels.


In this position you can hold the stick as wide as it feels comfortable, while maintaining a neutral spine and straight bar above the head. 

                                                                  Shoulder-width apart

Same aim as previously just with a closer grip.




 This should be the hardest one to achieve, depending on your mobility. You can squeeze your biceps into your ears and hold the bar that way. 

Risks of immobile shoulders:

  • Unsafe when lifting – high risk of injury
  • Pain
  • Decreased range of movement
  • Swelling

How can you fix an uneven overhead lift?

Simply gain stability in the shoulders and get rid of mobility and strength imbalances with few simple exercises: 

2. Row + Rotation + Press


 2.Resistance Band shoulder depression

3. Scapular Push Ups



Before performing a lift or any exercise is very important to test your current ability. This includes flexibility, risks of injuries, mobility and strength tests. This will not only save you from an injury but also will improve the efficiency of your lifts and the result.


Stay Safe!




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