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Top Exercises to Improve Overhead Mobility

by Brian Wolfe, DPT, OCS

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We talked about the importance of overhead mobility and stability here, but what are some exercises you can perform to actually improve it? Here are my top 3 OH mobility exercises for OH athletes:

Open Books (10 reps each side)

Lying on your side with your arms fully extended to the front, rotate your body to fully rotate your thoracic spine until you feel a stretch, opening the top arm as you rotate. Hold the stretch for a couple seconds and return to start.

Straight Arm Overhead Flexion w/ Contract-Relax (3 reps x 5-10 sec hold each side)

Find a wall or squat rack to use for this exercise. Standing in the rack while reaching OH, use the wall or squat rack to stretch your arm as fully flexed OH as possible. Place 5-10 pounds of pressure into the wall/rack then relax further into the stretch. 

Foam Rolling Overhead PVC Flexion

While lying on your back on a foam roller, use a PVC pipe and stretch both of your arms fully OH. Slowly roll back and forth on the foam roller to feel the stretch in the mid back with both shoulders stretching OH. Perform this exercise several times until you have an improvement in full shoulder OH range of motion.

Watch the following video to see these 3 OH mobility exercises in action:

Try these exercises out and let us know what you think!

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