“A couple weeks ago I wrote about overhead squat limitations, and the poses I recommended were to open the hips. A second key component to overhead lifting is shoulder mobility. I regularly see athletes with strong upper backs and shoulders struggle with limitations in how high they can raise their arms without pain.
The shoulder should be the most mobile joint in the body, but when movement is limited athletes may end up compensating by using the low back rather than the upper back to increase extension in the lift. Here are three poses to help restore the proper range of motion:
Down Dog at the Wall
Benefit: Stretches the pectoral muscles and chest. Increases overhead range of motion without putting weight on the shoulders.
- Facing a wall, step your feet back until you have to lean forward in order to touch the wall. Make sure your feet are hips width distance apart with the second toes turned forward.
- Lean forward to place your hands flat on the wall, shoulder height. The hands should be as wide as the width of your outer shoulders.
- Keeping the hands shoulder height with the fingers spread wide, release the chest down between the biceps as much as possible.
- Hold for 2-5 minutes or as long as tolerable.
Modifications: Bend the knees as much as you need. Turn the hands out slightly if shoulders are very tight. You may take the hands wider than shoulder width if you have severe limitations.
Around the World at the Wall
Benefit: Stretches the fronts of the shoulders and undersides of the arms, and brings awareness to mobility limitations.” Continued…