Three Mobility Exercises to Improve Overhead Position

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.


Rib self-mobilisation:

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.




Alex Drew

Raised as a sandgroper over in W.A, Alex was handed a Bachelor of Physiotherapy and asked to leave the university lecturers in peace for good.  As a matter of filling his time, he also graduated from the Royal Military College as an Infantry Officer in 2008 after finally pointing his rifle in the right direction and making his bed to an elite level.

Moving to Melbourne in 2010 in an episode similar to that movie Coyote ugly, Alex has since worked in a few sports physio clinics across Melbourne, coached CrossFit, done power-lifting training courses, walked a 45km mt buller trail run and worked at North Melbourne football club.

Alex founded Evolutio in 2013 to provide a hub for the next generation of great physio minds to work together on high level athletes. 

He writes on business, leadership and mens health.