So often we see people come into the clinic here in Richmond, with issues performing overhead moves, none more so than the Snatch or Overhead Squat.
For the most of us, we are chained to a desk the good majority of the day, most days a week. This sustained stooped forward position leads to your thoracic spine being stuck in flexion, which doesn’t allow proper scapula mechanics, in turn limit end overhead position or if left unattended can lead to painful shoulder impingement syndrome.
The thoracic spine and the scapula have a synergistic relationship. With the articulation between the scapula and the rib cage creating the scapulothoraic joint, limited thoracic spine and/or rib cage mobility can lead to restrictions in scapula movement, leading to limited shoulder range of motion.
Lack of thoracic extension will limit your ability to hold the centre of mass (the barbell) over your base of support, resulting in the weight pulling you forward.
Try these three exercises to improve your thoracic mobility to achieve good overhead position.
Thoracic spine double lacrosse ball self mobilisation:
Place the lacrosse balls across you thoracic spine, start between your shoulder blades, then lie back on the balls. Roll up and down to find the stiff joints, and then with your breath, exhale relaxing into the ball. Change levels and repeat.
Place the lacrosse ball slightly wider than the double balls, just in from your shoulder blade. Just like the double, roll up and down to find the stiff ribs, and then with your breath, exhale relaxing into the ball. Change levels and repeat.
Side lying windmill:
This is great to open the chest and mobilise the spine. On your side, try to draw a large circle with your hand while maintaining stable hips. Repeat 5 times each side.
Complete these quick and easy mobility exercises before pressing, snatching or overhead squatting, and you will feel a whole lot more comfortable overhead.