Yoga to Improve Overhead Shoulder Mobility: What do Overhead Squats, Snatches, and Kipping Pull Ups all have in common? They all require healthy levels of overhead shoulder mobility.
Overhead shoulder mobility can be the limiting factor for many athletes who don’t have backgrounds in sports which require flexibility – such as gymnastics, dance, or yoga. Weight lifters are especially prone to poor mobility, in the shoulders and overall.
Here are some easy yoga poses that you can do to improve your overhead shoulder mobility.
Yoga Poses for Overhead Shoulder Mobility:
Start by standing about three feet away from the wall, facing towards it. From your standard toe-touch, raise your head using your neck muscles to look forward, and let your spine follow your line of sight. Raise your arms from the shoulders and press the palms of your hands against the wall so that you can slightly brace yourself. Relax your back, allowing a slight arch (your stomach will stick out more), to increase the stretch through the shoulders.
Arms-Overhead Forward Bend
Clasp your hands together behind your back, hinge forward at the hips, let your head hang, and bring your arms overhead. Sway slowly from side to side, letting the weight of your arms stretch your shoulders at different angles.
Relaxed Downward Dog
Start in a straight-armed plank, then push the hips up & back until you are making a triangle with the floor. Allow your legs to bend & heels to rise. Focus on actively pushing back on your hands, and drawing your shoulders back & down.
From your relaxed downward dog, bring your elbows down so that your forearms & palms are resting on the floor. It’s OK if you keep the “relaxed” position with your legs (knees bent & heels up). Spent 30 seconds in Dolphin with your gaze pointing at your feet. Then raise your head and gaze forward, spend another 30 seconds with this new head position.
Lay on your stomach, and bend your knees so your heels are near your thighs or buttocks. Reach back with your arms, and grab the tops of your feet. Your hands should be gripping the outer edge of your feet, not the inside. Engage your legs and spine to come into bow pose. Let the resistance of your legs “pull” your arms & shoulders.