Do you dread your days at the gym when you see anything overhead? Does the thought of an overhead squat or handstand push up in a workout just ruin your day? Are you tired of your coach telling you to lock your elbows out during a squat snatch every time you do them? Well, hopefully I can help you out with a few mobility pieces that will get you into a better position allowing you to leave the gym a little more confident, and super stoked to get a solid overhead lift! And more importantly, help you avoid some down the road shoulder issues.
Before getting started, do a test. From the standing position, squeeze your glutes, engage your abdominals, put your arms over your head in full extension, and squeeze your upper back muscles as much as you can. Have someone take a picture from the side (profile view), so you know where you are at. Now lets get to WORK!
1.) Snow Angel (Bad video, I will get one made and repost it to here as soon as I can. Grab yourself a softball or a lacrosse ball. Lie down on your belly and put the ball just below your collarbone and just inside of your shoulder. Load as much weight as you can handle and begin sweeping your arm from your hip to the overhead position like you did making snow angels as a kid or a face down jumping jack. Externally rotate your thumb to the vertical postition as if you were trying to hitch hike a ride home. For extra pleasure, sweep the arm behind your low back. Spend about 20 reps of that on each side.
2.) Lat Floss & Smash (2:40 Mark). Take your softball or lacrosse ball again and lie down on your side with your arm over your head. To start, put the ball on the meatiest part of your lat where it inserts into your arm at the tricep. Start flossing “aka shearing” the muscle tissue by pushing your lat over the ball back and forth to break up any knots or adhesions. It will feel chunky and speed bump like and isn’t pleasant but will feel amazing after you are done. Floss it about 20 times or until you notice a change for the better in how it feels (If you are super tight in that area, just keep going further down the lat doing the same thing. Next, find where you are the tightest in your lat area and put the ball right on it and do a little PNF (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation) work. Take a big deep breath and contract your lat muscles and hold for about 5-7 seconds, and then breathe out in a relaxed manner and melt into the ball and try to maintain that position for 90 seconds -2 minutes and accumulate a total of 4 minutes per side.
3.) The last piece in the series is to open up the Thoracic Spine with a little T-Spine Smash(3:00 Mark). You will need a double lacrosse ball “aka The Peanut” homemade or one by RAD Roller or you can use a foam roller. You will also need a barbell or some form of weight like a kettle bell or dumb bell. Put the The Peanut in the middle of your back with your spine running up the middle and balls on the muscles. Put your hands over your head with your elbows fully extended and locked out and grip the barbell palms facing the ceiling. Lift your hips off the floor. Take a big deep breath, engage your core and make your midline rigid and maintain that while trying to bring our hips to the ground. Breath out, relax and melt into the ball. Do that for 4-5 reps and shift up to the next vertebrae and give each one a little love. If you know you are tight in a specific area, then just work that spot specifically.
Now do a re-test and see how much overhead improvement you were able to capture. Do it pre workout or post. Get in there and get better than you were yesterday. Try it out and let me know how it worked for you. Hit me up at my email if you have any questions at: firstname.lastname@example.org or post a question on our Facebook page.