Improve Your Overhead Position Part Two

Tucson Physical Therapy

Who is this mobility prescription for?

  • Low back pain with overhead lifting

  • Anterior Shoulder Pain

  • Posterior Shoulder Pain

  • Poor front rack position

  • Poor HSPU position

  • Neck Pain

  • “Tight Shoulders”

Tucson Physical Therapy

The latissimus dorsi is a primary mover for any vertical pulling performed at the shoulder joint: pull ups, toes to bar, etc. Due to its expansive attachment from the front side of the arm to the lower back it often contributes to both shoulder and lower back dysfunction in overhead positions. Around the shoulder joint, the lats can limit your shoulder flexion and external rotation limiting your ability to keep your arms close to your ears as you reach overhead. At the lower back, the lats can result in excessive lumbar extension. These limitations often result in less efficiency and stability in already challenging postures increasing your risk for decreased performance and injury.

What to do?

  1. Start with 1 minute of foam rolling or lacrosse ball work along the armpit region and down the side of the body towards the lower back.

  2. Hold the rack with 1 hand thumb pointed up and your other hand on the side your stretching shoulder blade. Keep your abs engaged and eliminate low back extension. Perform for 1 minute using contract/relax strategies to pull your shoulder blade towards your hip then relax and increase the stretch.

Common Fault: overarching the lumbar spine.

  1. Place a light weight on a PVC/dowel, lie on a bench or box with your knees tucked up. Holding the PVC/dowel with a chin up grip (palms up) slowly lower the PVC overhead without low back extension, hold for 10 seconds, repeat 10 times.

Common Fault: Allowing the rib cage to flare up towards the ceiling.      

What Should I feel?

  • One stretch through the armpit to the lower back. You should NOT feel a pinch in the front of your shoulder.

When should I do this?

  • Before overhead lifting, HSPU

  • After heavy or high volume pulling workouts (pull ups, deadlifts)

Own your movement. Build your resilience. Warrior Rx.

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