How to Improve Your Shoulder Overhead Mobility

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If you’ve ever felt tightness in your shoulders, especially when attempting pull-ups or overhead presses, you’re not alone. Achieving optimal shoulder mobility is crucial for various exercises. In this blog, we will share 5 effective exercises to help you open up your shoulders and enhance that overhead range of motion. Whether you’re a regular gym-goer or just getting started on your fitness journey this new year, these exercises can make a significant difference.

Let’s begin! 

Foam Roller Techniques for Lats

The first step in improving shoulder mobility involves addressing tight lats with the use of a foam roller. As tightness in this area can restrict your ability to go overhead. Follow these 3 easy steps on how to perform the exercise.

  • Step 1: Lie on your side with the foam roller under your armpit, ensuring a comfortable position.
  • Step 2: Gently roll the foam roller up and down, targeting areas of tension in your lats. Rock your body slightly side to side to enhance the stretching effect.
  • Step 3: Repeat the rolling motion for 15 reps on each side. Keep your palms facing up and maintain a relaxed posture throughout.

Bonus Tip: This technique is particularly beneficial for individuals involved in overhead activities like CrossFit or Olympic lifting, contributing to improved shoulder mobility.

Activation Exercises for Shoulders

Once you’ve addressed the tightness in your lats, it’s time to activate both your lats and serratus anterior. This phase is critical in promoting a harmonious interaction between your lats and serratus anterior muscles. As you embark on this stage, the goal is not merely to release tension but to actively engage and awaken these key muscle groups. Follow these simple steps.

  • Step 1: Place a foam roller on the ground and position yourself with your palms on the roller, ensuring your shoulders are directly above your hands.
  • Step 2: Push your palms into the foam roller while simultaneously reaching forward, maintaining control and preventing your shoulder blades from dropping.
  • Step 3: Perform 10 to 12 reps of this movement. Focus on the deliberate push and reach to activate your lats and serratus anterior, preparing your brain to adapt to the new range of motion achieved.

Lower Trap Activation

Now that you’ve freed up your lats and activated key shoulder muscles, focus on the lower traps. The lower trapezius muscles, often overlooked, play a vital role in shoulder stability and overall upper body function. By unlocking and activating these muscles, you’re not only fostering improved shoulder stability but also laying the foundation for a holistic and effective workout routine. Follow this easy guide.

  • Step 1: Position yourself on the foam roller with one arm extended overhead. Ensure your body is aligned and your spine is supported by the foam roller.
  • Step 2: Lift one arm off the foam roller while keeping your elbows straight. Hold this lifted position for two seconds, emphasizing the engagement of the lower traps.
  • Step 3: Alternate arms, lifting each one for 10 repetitions on each side. Maintain good form throughout, avoiding excessive use of the back muscles. This exercise helps train your body to lift the shoulder effectively, promoting better stability and reducing the risk of strain.

T Spine Mobility Warm Up

The next step to further enhance your shoulder mobility is to incorporate a T-spine mobility warmup. Your thoracic spine, or T-spine, plays a pivotal role in shoulder movement and overall upper body flexibility. By dedicating time to specifically address and enhance T-spine mobility, you lay the groundwork for more fluid and controlled shoulder movements. Follow these simple and easy steps:

  • Step 1: Lie on a foam roller, ensuring it runs along your spine. Cross one leg over for stability.
  • Step 2: Perform the open book exercise by rotating your upper body. Follow your hand with your gaze as you open up your thoracic spine.
  • Step 3: Aim to repeat this rotation for 10 to 12 reps on each side. This exercise not only enhances thoracic spine mobility but may also result in a satisfying crack in your lower back, providing relief and improved flexibility.

Landmine Press for Shoulder Mobility

The final exercise in this comprehensive routine is the landmine press. This movement is excellent for increasing overhead range of motion and promoting shoulder mobility. Follow these easy steps:

  • Step 1: Set up with one leg forward and position the landmine at a 90-degree angle in front of you. Ensure a stable stance for the exercise.
  • Step 2: Grasp the barbell attached to the landmine and press it upward. Focus on keeping your elbows in line with the equipment to maintain proper form.
  • Step 3: Emphasize maintaining a good scapular position throughout the movement. Aim to complete 8 to 10 reps for two sets as part of your pre-workout routine. This exercise effectively promotes shoulder mobility and stability.

Check out this video out with Dr.Natty to learn more.


Incorporating these exercises into your routine can significantly improve your shoulder overhead mobility. Whether you’re an experienced athlete or a fitness enthusiast, taking the time to address tightness and activate key muscles is crucial for long-term joint health and injury prevention. Remember, the key to a successful fitness journey is consistency and ensuring that you can continue working out without pain or injury. So, open up those shoulders and embrace the gains with these effective mobility exercises.

At Myokinetix, we’re here for you on your path to better health and unrestricted movement. Our team is committed to helping you live life to its fullest without any limitations. Whether you want to boost flexibility, address mobility issues, or just improve your overall well-being, Myokinetix is ready to assist you with personalized solutions. Discover the freedom of movement you deserve with Myokinetix – your partner for a healthier and more active lifestyle.

Take the first step towards reaching your peak performance and book a call with our team today! 

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