I’ve been including a lot of overhead exercises into my workouts lately (like this one, for example) because I’m trying to improve my shoulder strength and get better at things like overhead squats (I’d eventually like to learn exercises that combine overhead mobility, strength, and power like snatches and push jerks, too, but that’s going to come much later).
Anyway, I realize that these kinds of exercises are quite challenging for a lot of people and not everyone has the shoulder and thoracic mobility necessary to do them — yet. That’s why I put together this post to show you some overhead mobility drills that will help you to improve your mobility (duh) and eventually get to the point where you can do overhead exercises (overhead presses, overhead lunges, overhead squats, etc.) comfortably and with good form.
Even if you are fairly confident in your ability to do overhead exercises, I still recommend adding these mobility drills to your routine. They’re great on their own or for warming up before a workout!
All you need for these drills is a broomstick or a PVC pipe. You could also use a yoga strap or a belt if that’s all you happen to have lying around, but I prefer the stability of the broomstick or a pipe.
Overhead Mobility Drills: The Moves
Try adding these five drills to your mobility routine to improve your upper body mobility and get more comfortable with overhead exercises:
Broomstick Overhead Presses
This is a good shoulder warm-up just to help you loosen up. Make sure you’re engaging your glutes and the rest of your core to maintain stability (don’t let your lower back arch) and try to get your arms all the way up over your head so they’re in line with your ears.
Partial Broomstick Passovers
Start by holding the broomstick with both hands in front of your body. Then, keeping your arms straight and in a locked position (don’t fully lock out the elbows, though), raise the broomstick until it’s over your head and your arms are in line with your ears. Bring it back down the same way.
Full Broomstick Passovers
This time, you’re going to bring the broomstick all the way over your head and behind your back. Ideally, it’ll make contact with your glutes/lower back. If you can’t get it all the way back there while keeping your arm straight, just bring it back as far as you can.
Prone Handcuffs with Rotation
These are tough, but they’re so good for your rotator cuffs and other shoulder/upper back muscles. Move slowly when you do these and articulate each part of the movement — you definitely don’t want to rush this exercise.
Prone T-Y-I Pulses
These are tough, too, but they’re a great follow-up to the prone handcuffs with rotation. Try to keep your thumbs pointing up at all times. Do about 10 pulses in each position.
Overhead Mobility Video Breakdown
Confused about any of these exercises? Check out the video below for a breakdown of each one.
Do these overhead mobility drills on a regular basis and you’ll have a much easier time performing overhead exercises.
Keep in mind that it takes patience to really see results from exercises like these, though. It’ll take more than a couple weeks of consistent practice, but, if you stick with them, you will see progress!
Let me know how it goes in the comments down below!