Shoulder Mobility Part 1: Mobility Test

Test of Shoulder Mobility

 

Welcome to our series on Shoulder Mobility, where in part 1, our Head Coach Marnus is going to go through a short and simple test to see how your shoulder mobility rates. Watch the video to perform the shoulder mobility test.

 

 

Shoulder mobility is absolutely key when training CrossFit or most other functional fitness disciplines.  If your shoulders are tight, then you WILL eventually get injured.  Many of us are also working desk jobs or something similar when we spend almost the whole day hunched over a desk.

Then at night, we sit down and stare at our phones, also in a hunched over position.  And because almost everything we humans do is in front of us, we are constantly internally rotating our shoulders.  Over time, that makes many of us VERY tight.

Why is Shoulder Mobility so important?

The shoulder is often considered the most complicated joint in the body.  The reason is that it is the only joint that is able to move in so many different planes of motion.  The shoulder is able to do this because it is also the only joint in the body that is held together entirely by soft tissue (soft tissue = muscles, tendons, and ligaments) and not by skeletal tissue (skeletal tissue = bones) at all.

This provides mobility at the joint, but it comes at the cost of joint stability.  To understand just how complicated this joint is, and if you'd like to know more, take a look at this extensive tutorial on the anatomy of the shoulder from Teach Me Anatomy.

 

How do I know if my Shoulder Mobility is adequate?

In the video, Marnus demonstrates a very easy test to take yourself through to find out how mobile your shoulder(s) are.  You start by lying on your back, legs straight and flush against the wall.

Then, with straight arms, place your fists together above your chest.  Engage your core and push your spine down so that your entire spine is flush to the floor.

Now slowly move your arms (while straight), above your head towards the floor.  The goal is to lay your forearms and the top of your hands on the floor WITHOUT any part of your spine leaving the floor.

 

Note Coach Marnus' Shoulder Mobility is very tight Testing his shoulder mobility at Iconic Fitness in the Dubai Marina, Marnus' lower back leaves the floor as he tries to put his forearms down.

 

What if I can't get my forearms to the floor without my spine leaving the ground?

If this is the case, it's an indicator that some part of the shoulder joint is too tight.  There are several risks associated with this.  Tight shoulders will inhibit a full range of movement for several different exercises (any overhead press, any kipping movements, push-ups, Olympic lifts and many more).  Without that full range of movement, muscles will compensate for sub-optimal movement patterns.  Done enough times, these can lead to shoulder injuries.

So how do I improve my shoulder mobility?

In the next few posts, Coach Marnus is going to take you through a series of stretches and mobility drills that you can do on a daily basis to improve the range of movement at the shoulder.  But no matter what, the key is CONSISTENCY. 

You must be doing something to improve shoulder mobility pretty much every day, especially if you have a desk job that lends itself to getting you slumped over a desk all day.

Check our youtube channel to find more videos in the series on Shoulder Mobility and let us know how this test goes for you!

 

Contact Coach Marnus here to find out how he can help you individually either in person or remotely with your shoulder mobility.