How To Assess & Improve Shoulder Overhead Mobility | Episode 28

Check out this video where we break down how to assess & improve shoulder overhead mobility from start to finish! If you enjoy reading and want to learn more about this topic including some bonus stretches and exercises to improve your overhead mobility, then BE SURE to check out our article ‘How To Assess & Improve Shoulder Overhead Mobility’: What Is Shoulder Overhead Mobility? No need to overcomplicate things, optimal shoulder overhead mobility can be defined as having adequate motion in the right places to allow the arms to be positioned overhead without compensation! We say the right places because it is so much more than just your shoulder, trust us we wish it were that simple! To reach your arms up fully overhead without any compensation, you need cooperation from the following body regions and joints... - Glenohumeral joint (shoulder joint) - Scapulothoracic joint (shoulder blade on the rib cage) - Sternoclavicular joint (SC joint) & acromioclavicular joint (AC joint) - Cervical & thoracic spine & nerve mobility - Lumbopelvic control & soft tissue flexibility (we dive into this in our article!) Why Improve Shoulder Overhead Mobility? Why Is It Important? Ask yourself, do you reach overhead on a daily basis? Do you comb your hair? Do you play sports? Do you like to high-five people? All of these things require shoulder overhead mobility to some extent. We didn't want to complicate things earlier, but basically any amount of arm lifting above ear level, whether it be shoulder flexion (reaching your arm up in front of you) or shoulder abduction (reaching your arm up and out to the side) can be considered overhead mobility - it's over your head right?! Shoulder overhead mobility is an essential human movement that you should strive to always possess! Its a very valuable asset, especially for overhead athletes considering a reduced total range of motion at the shoulder joint has been identified as a risk factor shoulder injury (1). Not only does it make things easier like reaching into the top kitchen cupboard or replacing a light bulb, but it also protects your shoulder and other body regions from potential unnecessary strain. We have helped countless patients and clients rehab from various issues that stemmed from overhead mobility problems. Shoulders, necks, backs, knees, you name it, their limited overhead mobility was actually the real culprit. Instead of having to calm things down and work on multiple problems at the same time, what if we could apply the same principles in a preventative and proactive manner to improve overhead mobility before there were any consequences elsewhere in the body? That is true [P]Rehab! How To Improve Shoulder Overhead Mobility In this video we share with you our approach to assess and improve shoulder overhead mobility. To continue the trend of keeping things simple, to improve shoulder overhead mobility you want to mobilize any tissue that could be limiting overhead mobility with specific soft tissue work and stretches, you want to perform activation and mobility exercises working motion in the desired direction (in this case, overhead directed motion), and to cap it off you want to perform stability exercises to enhance make your mobility gains. In this video we feature exercises from our Overhead Mobility Overhaul [P]Rehab Program. Closing Thoughts We tried to keep shoulder overhead mobility as simple as possible for you to understand, but it can be complex to address sometimes! As we said, there are a lot of moving parts to consider and our goal was to shed light on some of these components. Ultimately, it comes down to identifying what is limiting your shoulder overhead mobility and then putting together an action plan to improve it! REFERENCES Cools AM, Johansson FR, Borms D, Maenhout A. Prevention of shoulder injuries in overhead athletes: a science-based approach. Braz J Phys Ther. 2015 Sept-Oct; 19(5):331-339. Video edited by
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