Who needs shoulder mobility? (You do.)
Let’s talk about having a full range of motion in your shoulders. The last thing any of us want is to walk through life with poor posture and limited mobility.
Before any strength training, especially overhead movements, we want to make sure we have solid shoulder mobility. We use the “Stick Test” to make sure we have the range needed to be able to perform any overhead exercise. Without proper range of motion, overhead movements can increase the risk of injury. Due to our jobs and everyday life- things like: typing at computers, driving cars, and chopping vegetables – all tend to pull our shoulders forward, and can round the thoracic spine. Life is in front of us – so everything we do in front of us pulls that whole tissue chain forward – even with a focus on proper ergonomics and posture – tension patterns build. We want to unravel where you get stuck and using the “Stick Test” as exercise can do just that.
You really want to make sure you’re keeping your ribs tucked in and in line with your hips while engaging your core. Keep your hips, shoulders, and heels flat to a wall and raise that stick straight up overhead trying to get your wrists to the wall – without flaring the ribs forward or feeling like your tummy juts out.
The next test we use as progressive exercise is the 90 degree test against a wall.
Bring your side to a wall, make sure the shoulder, elbow and knuckles are all touching the wall and the elbow is down at your side at 90 degrees. Slide the hand along the wall until the elbow is up by your ear- maintaining 90 degrees the entire time.
Additional stretches include the 3-point stretch, which targets different stretches along the front part of the shoulder and chest as well as through the bicep and arm.
A key element of shoulder health is rotational ability. By placing the palm firmly and flat on the wall straight out to your side at shoulder height, work on twisting your palm as far as you can in both directions.
We utilize the “Thread the Needle” stretch to reach into angles and open all other adjacent muscles in the upper body. Start in that tabletop position in three different angles to make sure you’re getting as many different angles as possible.
- Toward the hip
An exercise we highly recommend is the Halo. Using a small to medium kettlebell, hold it between your hands upside down. The movement is drawing a circle around your head at eye level. Keep the movement slow and controlled. 5 reps in each direction is plenty.
All of these shoulder-openers are helpful in correcting sticky stuff in your shoulders, and lubricating all your important parts. Enjoy!