Scapular Mobility/Stability and Shoulder Flexion to Improve your Overhead Position


For the last couple months, I’ve been obsessed with the scapula. A lot of my athletes are super glued down in this area and as a consequence have a hard time achieving good positions overhead.

Today, we’re going to look at a couple drills to help unglue your scapula as well as teach your body to recruit more tissues improve your overhead position.

Scap Push Ups:
Get into a tall plank position: feet together, knees locked out, butt squeezed, belly tight.

From here, maintain your spinal position, keep your elbows locked out, and squeeze your shoulder blades together (retraction).

Then from this bottom position, press through and protract your shoulder blades and corkscrew your hands into the ground creating torque at the shoulder (I accidentally say “elbow” in the video). Think about trying to point your elbow pits forward at the top of the plank. You should also feel your lats firing in this top position.

Prone Flexion Holds
Lay face down on the floor with feet together. Get into a hollow body position: ribs down and butt squeezed. This should create a gap between the floor and your waist.

Holding a PVC pipe or light bar overhead with shoulder width grip, raise the bar up off the ground and hold for 12-15 seconds. Stay tight and remember to breathe. This drill will help get those muscles between your shoulder blades firing. If you don’t get much range at first, don’t be discouraged. Keep trying. Your body will figure it out.

For many people, the ability achieve full shoulder flexion (overhead position) is not so much an issue of mobility, but of motor control. This drill will help increase your ability to activate those stabilizer muscles between your shoulder blades which will help you pull the bar back over your ears in the overhead position.

Reps and Sets
To start, try 3-5 sets of
5 scap push ups + 12-15 seconds of flexion holds

As you get better, you can increase the reps of the scap push ups. You can also increase the weight used for the flexion holds as well as the length of the hold.

If you need to scale the scap push ups down, you can do this exercise in the quadruped (all fours) position.

Let us know how it goes!
-Ray

Questions?
Feel free to send us an email at [email protected]