Overhead Athletes and Bro Shoulders

For instance, anterior shoulder placement and a stiff upper-thoracic spine for a pitcher means decreased range of motion, power, velocity, speed and effectiveness. And this isn’t just for throwing athletes. Take the New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr., for example. If he was burdened by “bro shoulders,” he would have never made this catch:

A majority of us (Humans, that is) tend to sit at desks, in cars, or with our backs rounded as we hunch over our phone checking Facebook and Instagram every 15 minutes. All of these positions can have terrible effects on your spine, as well as your hips and shoulders if you consistently sit with bad posture (shoulders rolled forward, spine rounded, head leaning forward). Due to our tendency to have stronger chest rather than back muscles, it can have an adverse effect on our shoulder mobility and function. This is especially important for our overhead athletes (baseball, volleyball) that practice hundreds of reps each week. This is another technique that they can use to take care of their bodies throughout the year. By using this along with a few other mobilizations to open up the anterior shoulder we hope to help our athletes improve their shoulder function and range of motion.

Left: Poor posture / over development of anterior chain and under development of posterior chain can lead to upper back, neck, and shoulder dysfunction. Right: Good upright posture, shoulders back, chest up, head forward.

This is one of my favorite mobilization techniques because it can show just how much of an affect a person’s daily posture can have on their mobility and performance. It’s also great because of the contract and relax method which allows you to feel the change in end range throughout the mobilization.

Some of the keys are:

1.Partner 1 — With feet flat, drive heels into ground to raise hips, pull your shoulders to the back of their sockets, and slide hands under your lower/mid back
2. Partner 2 — With palms on partner 1’s shoulders, press partner 2’s shoulders flat to the ground
3. Partner 1 — Slowly lower hips towards ground
4. Partner 2 — Prevent Partner 2’s shoulders from rolling forward as partner drops their hips
5. Partner 1 — Once you reach end range, keep hands in place, raise hips and lower again
6. Repeat step 5 (2 Minutes)

This is a great mobilization to use before any workout that will include horizontal or vertical pressing (i.e. Bench Press, Overhead Press) as well as before any type of competition to increase range of motion and performance. Give this mobilization a try and let us know how it feels!

Here is a similar post that touches on the importance of taking care of these little inefficiencies. Shout out to Kelley Starrett and the other great S&C minds for equipping us with this knowledge to spread

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