Improving Overhead Shoulder Mobility (Part 2)

This is the second part of the series on overhead shoulder mobility. If you missed the blog post on assessing overhead shoulder mobility, you can find the post here. This post will discuss exercises used to improve overhead shoulder mobility based on the previous shoulder assessment. 

Rotator Cuff Stability Limitation  

There are two parts to rotator cuff stability which can limit overhead shoulder mobility. Either there is a strength issue of the rotator cuff or a motor control issue. A strength issue is simply it is not strong enough for the loads being placed on it. Wall walks with an mini-loop or a kettlebell bottoms up press are two exercises that can increase strength of the rotator cuff in the overhead position. 

A motor control issue means that you have adequate strength, but the rotator cuff isn’t activating enough in the overhead position. The shoulder hip hop hooray exercise (okay, I made up the name of this exercise but you get the point) or floor pikes can be used to retrain the rotator cuff to be active in the overhead position. 

Core Stability Limitation

For a core stability problem that is limiting overhead shoulder mobility, the goal is to pair core muscle activation with overhead shoulder movements. A dead bug or bird dog core exercise can achieve this movement pattern. Resistance can be added as well to increase the challenge of these exercises. 

Latissimus Dorsi Mobility Limitation 

Tightness in the latissimus dorsi can restrict overhead mobility. Any lat mobility exercise can help to address the stiffness in the lats. Using a foam roller for self-myofascial release on the lats or performing a static stretch are two of the most common mobility exercises.