Overhead Mobility: The Sequel

     I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.

Bruce Lee

I send in weekly videos to my coach to be analyzed for cues and corrections in my Olympic lifts. This week, I got an email back telling me that I needed more mobility in my shoulders in order to get the bar into the proper overhead position. Now, you can imagine how ironic that is seeing’s as how I have posted for the last 3 or 4 weeks about mobilization and how important it is in your program… Well regardless, last week we posted a Video of our yoga instructor, Kaleigh, performing a yoga flow to help with the overhead and front rack position. This week, I want to expand on this video with some foam roller techniques, lacrosse ball techniques, and general stretches that I do in order to try to maintain the mobility needed to get the bar in to the proper overhead position. Note; These mobility techniques are not just for the Olympic movements. Anyone that presses, front squats, swims, sits at a desk, etc. can use these stretches and poses to gain and maintain the natural ROM in and around your shoulder, elbow, and wrist.

Lets start with some rolling techniques I use in my warm-up:


First, I should note that this might feel uncomfortable, but it Should NOT HURT. For the picture on the left we are rolling from the bottom of the ribcage to the base of the neck (not on the neck). We are focusing on loosening the upper back musculature up in order to help get  us into that proper overhead position. I start with 15-20 full rolls with my hands overhead, really extend those hands in order to get a good mash in the mid and lower traps.

The picture on the right, we are rolling the back of the shoulder and insertion of the lat. Same idea here, roll from your armpit down around your ribs (do not put too much pressure on the ribcage itself) and make sure and put the hand up in order to flex the lat. and get a good mash in. This roll out technique was made famous in the scene from titanic in which Jack paints a lovely portrait of Rose (I don’t have as good of a pose as Rose, but I am working on that).

Next we focus on some good overhead static stretches:

Kb stretchIMAG0030

The main goal for the first picture is to get good extension in the spine and shoulders. I hold this position for 15-20 seconds and let up for 15-20 seconds, rotating through this 3 to 4 times.

The second picture is targeted around your lat., obliques, and hips. This is a great one for some of the powerlifters that get those feet real far back in order to get solid drive during a bench press. Notice how my legs are in a straddle stance, which allows a little more of a stretch through out the hip area. The stretch is held for the same time frame as the first, with the same amount of sets (3-4 per side).

These last two are a sport specific technique and a lacrosse ball trigger point technique, so I grouped them down at the bottom:



First is the close grip overhead squat. I try to do this a couple of times a week, with very light weight, to help to improve my overhead mobility and positioning. The idea is to grip as close as is comfortably possible (this is a little wider than my clean grip) and perform a couple of overhead squats, holding in the bottom position for a 3-5 second count and 5-8 repetitions with 3-4 sets. Note: The pain face is not a necessary part of this squat, it just so happens that it naturally occurs for me in this position.

This lacrosse ball trigger point technique will help to loosen up that pec minor (which can become really tight when your shoulder is under a constant amount of strain and tension). Put the ball into that shoulder/pec pocket, get up against the wall, and move in small motions left, right, up and down. This one is a great one to do at the house or in a judgment free zone, because it tends to look like you might have fallen in love with the wall and are practicing your slow grid with it. If you hit a spot that is extra tender, make sure to stay there for 3-5 seconds to allow it to loosen up a little and make sure to perform this on both sides of the body!

. Unlike other things in life, if you don’t use it, you will lose it, so make sure and make this a daily task. Get into the gym, add some into both your warm-up and cool-down, making sure to try to include some mobility for every major joint in the body. When you get home, make sure to take extra care of any small injuries, aches or pains you may have (adding more mobilization and rehab to this areas).

Check out the Facebook page for updates on our Super Total Lift off coming up on Dec. 5th and if you are interested, we still have 3 or 4 spots available in our Tues/Thurs strength class!

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