One of the most interesting pieces of our job as coaches is helping our members work through individual limitations which regularly show up as mobility issues.
One of the more common restrictions that may need some extra work is a person’s ability to get their hands overhead smoothly.
There are a lot of factors that we can address to improve your overhead mobility but here is a quick 4 step program I used with a member in a class recently to target their tight lats.
Step 1 Soft Tissue – We started with some soft tissue work on a foam roller. This is to either help some inhibiting muscle relax or encourage the muscles to move more freely and slide over each other better.
1 minute soft tissue/side
Step 2 Stretch – Trying to increase our passive end range of motion through a banded distraction. With a heavy band attached above your head and looped around your wrist walk back and hinge forward until your wrist, shoulder and hip are in line. Grabbing the band we can turn our hand upward and rotate through our trunk to play into different intensities of the stretch. The resistance of the band gives helps to create space within the joint.
1 minute banded stretch/side
Step 3 Time and Load – Once we have a greater passive end range, finding ways to move and load through that position will help lay down the movement pattern. Teaching our brain it is OK to move in those new spots is crucial to accelerating our improvements. Try a DB pullover to work on our lats through shoulder flexion. Make it even better by adding tempo to this work.
10 DB Pullovers with 5 second lower, 1 second reset
Step 4 Rehearse – And finally we can use and unloaded rehearsal of the movement to explore how we may move differently. This again is just greasing the wheels of the movement before we go back to the exercise we were initially trying to improve.
30 seconds floor angels
Step 5 Re-Test – The last step is to pick up those dumbbells or barbell and play with some presses again. The ultimate goal is that it looks great and feels great, but the more realistic situation is that it is slightly improved and we can continue to use the movement to reinforce our new pattern.
If your overhead feels rough after your first set, take 6 minutes and go through some work to see how it feels before adding more weight!