4 Mobility Drills To Improve Your Overhead Press

Performing an overhead press is a great way to build upper body strength and mobility, and is extremely functional to daily and sport activities. Whether your goals are to improve performance in your sport, increase your mobility, add strength or size to your arms, or just feel better with your posture and day to day activities – the overhead press is one of those foundational movements that should be in your program.

While the overhead press is a foundational movement, it is also one that can expose areas of limited mobility. To properly perform, you need to have adequate mobility in your thoracic spine, lats, pecs, triceps, and shoulder joint. Although the press can seem like a simple movement at face value, missing mobility in these key areas can cause compensation that leads to pain or injury.

We work with several clients who come to see us for neck pain, shoulder pain, and overall stiffness in posture that can be linked back to missing mobility in these key areas. Once we go through an assessment to identify the key root cause, we can prescribe the right mobility exercises that allows for better positions with the overhead press – and therefore leads to better movement and less pain.

Here are some of the main areas where we find many clients we work with to have limited mobility, and some mobility drills you can try to help improve your overhead press:

Thoracic Rotation Mobility

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💥Thoracic Rotation💥 . SWIPE for Videos ➡️ . What is your thoracic spine, why is it important, and how well does it actually move? Check out the link to our blog in bio for all you need to know on your thoracic spine 💡 . Having good thoracic mobility is extremely importance for both performance and longevity. If someone comes to us with neck, shoulder, or back pain – this is for sure getting assessed . Today we're after extension and rotation. There are two variations shown here, the first (on hands and knees) will be a bit easier than the second variation (on elbows). The first variation is a good place to start if you are having difficulty with these movements, but you'll eventually want to progress to elbows for mobility specific to the thoracic spine . The mobility required for these movements are super important for sport, performance in the gym, and longevity to do what you love for longer . Questions? Comment below. Know someone who needs this? Comment below, tag them, and share it with someone who needs to see it 🙏🏼 ⬇️ . If you've been dealing with pain or limitations in your workouts for longer than a month, and it's just not getting better, shoot me a message to talk through options for getting it under control‼️

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Thoracic mobility is often the first place to look if your pressing mobility is limited. Perform both with hand behind the head and behind the back as shown to improve mobility in this area.

Kneeling Lat/Triceps Mobility

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💥T-Spine Openers💥 . SWIPE for Video ➡️ . 💡This week were focusing on building strong and mobile shoulders. You need good mobility to have strong shoulders, and you need good strength to optimize your mobility safely . 🏋️‍♂️ When we can maximize both strength and mobility of this joint, we can see better positions and improved performance in the gym or in sport – while also getting a nice side effect of more healthy and resilient shoulders . 💪🏼 If we want full overhead shoulder mobility and strength, our spines have to be able to move as their designed to . 🔑 The thoracic spine (mid back) is what we're after mobilizing today. Find a couple of your favorites shown and get that area moving . 📞Helping people local and remote get back to doing the activities they love. Interested in working together? Send a message to talk about how I can help or head straight to link in profile to set up a coaching call. Available to the first 5 🖐🏼 to sign up each week . . . . . #thoracicmobility #spine #back #functionalpatterns #shoulder #shoulders #shouldermobility #shoulderpain #shoulderworkout #deadlifts #prehab #mobility #physicaltherapy #PT #physicaltherapist #strengthtraining #crossfit #stretching #fitness #deadlift #squat #conditioning #lifting #functionalfitness #functionaltraining #sandiegofitness #carlsbad #carlsbadvillage #encinitas #sandiego

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This variation is one of our clients favorites for opening up the triceps, lats, and upper back all in one. Play around with bending and straightening the elbows to find the best stretch.

Kettlebell Halo

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😇KB Halos 😇 . A lack of either strength or mobility overhead can limit performance in sport and in the gym – as well as cause potential overuse problems in the shoulder, low back, and neck . We have people come in to see us all the time with pain or tightness in the above areas, and we frequently find that they're missing overhead range of motion. This causes other areas to compensate and can lead to them coming in to see us . The problem is, they've already tried stretching and foam rolling without seeing the improvements they would hope for. It's not until we combine a targeted mobility plan with specific strength work (such as this movement) to make sure that those mobility improvements are sticking . If that sounds familiar – try following up your current mobility routine with some specific strength work to help things stick . We program KB Halos for several of our in person and remote clients into their warmup and activation work. While these are primarily targeting opening up and building strength around the shoulders, the different variations from standing to kneeling provide different challenges for the hips and core as well: . 1️⃣ Standing Halos . 2️⃣ Half Kneeling Halos . 3️⃣Tall Kneeling Halos . Tag a friend who could use some help getting mobile and strong overhead👇🏼 . 🏋️‍♂️Looking to get strong, feel athletic, and train hard without pain? DM me for details on working together for custom 1-on-1 exercise programming and coaching. For those looking to level up in all areas of their life 📈

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Here we are moving into a more active variation of improving mobility. Keep stomach and butt squeezed tight to avoid arching at your lower back, and then trace a close circle around your head with the kettlebell.

Z Press

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⬅️Swipe for Exercises⬅️ . Having good shoulder overhead mobility and strength is key for both strong and healthy shoulders . Enter the Z press. One of our favorites we use with our clients all the time looking to boost performance, improve mobility, and get out of pain . Add these into your next shoulder routine for a whole new challenge to other pressing variations: . 1️⃣Barbell Z Press . 2️⃣DB Z Press . 3️⃣Neutral Grip DB Z Press . . 👫Pick a variation and tag a friend to challenge and see who can hold the longest . 🏋️‍♂️Looking to get strong, feel athletic, and train hard without pain? DM me for details on working together for custom 1-on-1 exercise programming

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Once you start to improve your mobility, it’s time to put all the pieces together. This seated press variation is a great way to take the hips and lower back out of the equation to really expose (and help correct) any mobility limitations you might have.

Try these out and see if you can notice an immediate improvement in how your pressing feels. If you’ve been dealing with pain or tightness that is keeping you from feeling and performing your best with your workouts, contact us today.

Whatever your goals or wherever you’re at, you can schedule a free 15 minute phone consult with one of our Performance Doctors of Physical Therapy to talk through your goals and help guide you to your next best step. We help active individuals like you every single day get out of pain and back to the activities you love. Don’t wait to feel and perform your best.



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