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MOBILITY FOR THE UPPER BODY:  IMPROVING THE FRONT RACK AND OVERHEAD POSITION

Here it comes, the dreaded word, mobility. Everyone knows they need it, but honestly, how many of you reading this can say that you take time to work on it? How many of you consistently jet out after a session and skip the mobility work written on the board? Oh yeah, I am not referring to grabbing a band and lying on the ground to pull your leg straight up for 30s and then calling it after that. That’s not really gonna do anything worthwhile. If any of this sounds like you, it’s all good. Let’s change that habit and let’s get serious about mobility!

Mobility is essential to our overall quality of life, especially as we age. Our ability to move without restriction or pain means that we can train hard at BFP and also perform daily activities (ex. picking up your kid, putting an object on the shelf…). It’s not uncommon to have restrictions in certain areas of the body. Especially if you sit all day for work or have an old injury. Humans are meant to move and when we deprive ourselves of that, we lose our mobility over time. It also increases the risk of getting hurt in the gym. Nobody wants to get hurt and have a setback, believe me it’s not fun.

Improvements in mobility requires patience, consistency and actually doing the correct exercises. Now some may be saying,

“Well, I am pretty flexible because I stretch all the time, isn’t that good enough?”

No it is not, sorry. It may make you feel good after a session (which I am not opposed to stretching), but flexibility and mobility are different aspects of fitness. So, let me clear the air on this. Flexibility refers to the ability of your soft tissue (muscles) to stretch and be pliable. Mobility, on the other hand, is an umbrella term for the many elements that contribute to movement, including restricted muscle tissue, joints, the joint capsules, motor control, AND your soft tissue (muscles). So think of it this way, Mobility IS the ability to have full range of motion within all types of movement without restrictions or pain.

Hopefully I still have your attention, so stay with me. Since we are providing a couple workshops in December at BFP about the clean and press (or jerk), I specifically want to address upper body mobility. I wanted to share some drills that everyone can do and most importantly they are simple! These drills will also help with hanging exercises (pull-ups, knee to chest…) or any lift where the weight needs to go from shoulders to overhead.

CHECK EM OUT: UPPER BODY MOBILITY DRILLS

  1. Banded Lat/Tricep/Pec Stretch: These stretches will improve range of motion in the shoulders, which will contribute to the front rack and overhead position.
  2. Barbell Forearm/Tricep/Trap Smash: Utilize the end of barbell where it rolls, smashing the soft tissue into the barbell and roll. This will help break up knotted tissue.
  3. Thoracic Stretch with a Foam Roller: Grab a roller and place it on the upper back, then reach arms overhead. Roll up and down, smashing tissue while maintaining arms overhead. Add a plate or barbell to pull you down into a greater range. This will help with overhead position.
  4. Front Rack Hold: Simply work on the position from a racked barbell. Dip under the bar, set your elbows and drive shoulders up to meet the bar. Work on keeping a full grip.
  5. Squat and Plate Press: This drill is gonna teach function, while working on positional mobility.

I have attached a link to a video that will demonstrate these drills, so try em out! Remember, consistency with mobility work will pay off, you will move and feel better when training, but you gotta do it! https://youtu.be/EuBK1qyzZrE

Coach Silas Perreault



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