Most people, myself included, place a big emphasis on lower body mobility. We work on our hip mobility, our ankle mobility, the tightness in our hamstrings, etc. What about your upper body, though? How much work do you do to improve your upper body mobility?
Upper body mobility is essential for upper body exercises like overhead presses, bench presses, as well as full-body exercises like overhead squats and snatches.
Upper body mobility plays a key role in everyday movements, too. Can you comfortably reach over your head to grab something from a high shelf? Or, do you wince in pain or have to do a lot of contorting just to carry out this basic movement pattern?
If you lack upper body mobility, you’re going to be more susceptible to injuries, as well as various aches and pains.
Poor upper body mobility will also make it nearly impossible for you to perform exercises with proper form. This, in turn, will cause you to see fewer results from these exercises, even if you are sticking to a consistent workout routine.
So, how do you work on your upper body mobility?
The following drills can help you improve your mobility and make it easier for you to carry out upper body strength movements and everyday tasks.
Prone Handcuffs with Rotation
Do this exercise slowly and focus on articulating each part of it. Make sure the palms are facing the ceiling in the beginning and at the end while you move your shoulders through a full range of motion. Check the back view to see exactly what your arms should be doing during this drill.
Thread the Needle
This is great for opening up the thoracic spine and correcting upper-crossed syndrome, something the majority of people experience, especially those who sit at a desk or have a long commute. Again, move slowly and with control, squeezing the shoulder blades at the top of the movement.
Broomstick Shoulder Rotations
Keep your torso totally still while doing this exercise. Don’t let your lower back arch and your stomach get pushed forward — this is a compensation that takes away from the shoulder warm up and minimizes its effectiveness.
Figure 8 Broomstick Shoulder Rotations
The same rule applies to this exercise. Keep your torso still and focus on isolating the movement to the shoulders and upper back.
Once again, keep your torso still. Focus on isolating the shoulders and upper back and squeeze the shoulder blades together as you stretch the band and separate your hands.
Need More Guidance?
These five upper body mobility drills are great options to include in your warm-up routine, especially if you’re going to be doing upper body exercises during your workout.
Here’s a video if you need some extra cues:
Do you typically warm up your upper body, or do you get stuck on lower body drills like me? What is your favorite upper body mobility drill?