4 Ways to Improve Overhead Shoulder Mobility

4 Ways to Improve Overhead Shoulder Mobility

4 Ways to Improve Overhead Shoulder MobilityOne of the most common areas we attempt to improve in clients at Champion PT and Performance is overhead shoulder mobility.  If you really think about it, we don’t need full overhead shoulder mobility much during our daily lives.  So our bodies adapt and this seems to be a movement that is lost in many people over time if not nourished.

I’m often amazed at how many people have a significant loss of overhead mobility and really had no idea!

That’s not really the issue.  The problem occurs when we start to use overhead mobility again, especially when doing it during our workouts and training.  Exercises like a press, thruster, snatch, overhead squat, kipping pull up, toes to bar, handstand push up, wall ball, and many more all use the shoulder at end range of movement.  But here are the real issues:

  • Add using the shoulder to max end range of overhead mobility and we can run into trouble
  • Add loading during a resisted exercise and we can run into trouble
  • Add repetitions of this at end range and we can run into trouble
  • Add speed (and thus force) to the exercise and we can run into trouble

This is why looking at overhead shoulder mobility is an important part of any shoulder impingement assessment.

4 Ways to Improve Overhead Shoulder Mobility

In this video I explain the 4 most common reasons why you lose overhead shoulder mobility and can work on to improve this movement:

  1. The shoulder
  2. The scapula
  3. The thoracic spine
  4. The lumbopelvic area

The first three are commonly address, but not so for the lumbopelvic area, which is often neglected.  I’m going to expand on this even more in this month’s Inner Circle webinar.  More info is below the video:

Assessing and Improving Overhead Shoulder Mobility

For those interested in learning more, I have a few Inner Circle webinars on how to assess and improve overhead shoulder mobility:

9 replies
  1. Ruben
    Ruben says:

    Agree with most of it. But clavicle rotation is actually the key component wich automaticly results in scapular upward rotation. That’s why we call it the cleido-scapulothoracic complex. This complex is often passive limited and this has nothing to do with motor control. We call it the scapular diskynesis myth. Only in a small amount of patients I see a primair motor control problem, mostly in the generalized hypermobile patient.

    • mikereinold
      mikereinold says:

      Ruben, I wonder, though, if clavicular rotation is altered due to where the scapula rests on the thorax? A lower scapula would have a more horizontal scapula and impact clavicular rotation. So, is it really the clavicle, or the thorax?

      • Ruben
        Ruben says:

        The form and function of the thoracic spine sets the limits for the potential movement capacity for the cleido scapulothoracic complex. I think thats what you meant with your reply as well, so we agree on that. But actually that’s another point. If we are talking about upward rotation of the scapula the key is the clavicular rotation with the SC joint as the most important joint in that movement. I never hear people talking about it though.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] 4 Ways to Improve Overhead Shoulder Mobility […]

  2. […] you have thoracic or shoulder mobility issues, your bench press and overhead press are going to be difficult to perform and progress […]

  3. […] Mike Reinold:  Mike Reinold is one of the premier baseball physical therapists in the country.  A former Boston Red Sox PT, and associate with Kevin Wilk and Dr. James Andrews, Reinold has garnered a lot of experience dealing with baseball injuries.  In this blog post, Reinold talks about ways to improve overhead shoulder mobility, a must for any overhead athlete.http://Mikereinold.com/2015/04/4-ways-to-improve-overhead-shoulder-mobility.html […]

  4. […] 4 Ways to Improve Overhead Shoulder Mobility […]

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