Fix your posture and build a ripped athletic body in 90 days
Thoracic mobility and mobilization drills are not something you can afford to overlook, especially if you want to be able to keep your shoulders healthy while lifting overhead. You might be thinking how your back mobility matters when you’re performing overhead lifts? It is actually critical. In this video, I show you how in order to get your arms fully overhead to perform lifts like the overhead press, snatch and overhead squats, you will need full mobility of your t-spine.
Any lift or exercise that you perform overhead will require that your shoulders are mobile. Full shoulder mobility is required in order to get them flexed and elevated over your head 165 degrees. That said, in order to execute the exercises I named safely, you need to get your arms 180 degrees. This extra 15 degrees of range of motion is not going to come from your shoulder joint but rather from your thoracic spine.
Your thoracic spine has to be able to extend at least 15 degrees from neutral in order to achieve the mobility needed to safely lift overhead. The problem is, with the rampant bad posture that we battle because of all the time we spend on the computers, driving, etc we have to scratch and claw for every one of those degrees.
It is such a common problem for people to not be able to achieve the full thoracic mobility needed to lift overhead safely and therefore leads to many of the lifting injuries we see these days. This can be fixed however if you pay attention to the details and make sure you do your thoracic mobility drills correctly.
The first and most common method of achieving more extension and mobility in your thoracic spine is by using a foam roller. While this is good in theory, if you don’t do it correctly you are doing nothing but wasting time. You have to be sure that you aren’t blocking your t-spine with your scapula by paying attention to the position of the arms when you are doing the mobility drill. If your hands are resting behind your head then you can be sure that you aren’t getting much from the exercise.
You have to free up your thoracic spine by getting your shoulder blades out of the way. Do this by reaching your arms straight overhead and allowing them to protract or wrap around the front of your body. Next you have to be sure that your abs are not engaged. If they are, you will be blocking the ability of your spine to wrap around the foam roller and extend through the spine.
If you don’t have access to a foam roller, you can still mobilize your thoracic spine by doing the second exercise I show you here. This one has the added benefit of stretching out the lats as well (a known major contributor to shoulders that cannot be elevated overhead because of tightness and restrictions). Whichever you try, just be sure to focus on the intent of the drill and get that spine into extension.
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