mobility exercises for crossfit

MOVEMENT TIPS – How to Improve your Shoulder Mobility

Bulletproof your shoulders now!

Shoulder injuries most often come from long term wear and tear. It’s usually not the result of that *one* muscle-up you did or that *one* push press where you tweaked it. Having healthy shoulders takes a long term approach and includes more than simply working on flexibility. Shoulder mobility will impact your jerk, push jerk, strict press and any other overhead motion. This could be what is halting your progress if you are at a plateau.

Shoulder mobility in Crossfit

Keep your shoulders healthy

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Increasing your flexibility with help you achieve a better position in many cases but that’s not the whole answer.

Many will benefit from increasing their flexibility but the key with increasing flexibility is being able to maintain stability in your new-found range of motion.

Flexibility and stability are of equal importance. Working on mobility (flexibility plus strength to control it) is the goal! Having a range of motion that you cannot control can predispose you to injury just as much as not having enough range of motion and compensating for it can. Get to work on those rotator cuff muscles to increase the stability in your shoulder! We love end range of motion exercises for this.

So when it comes to shoulder mobility, what’s so bad about compensating?

You lose power when you have to compensate to achieve a movement and it slows down your workout. If you do not have the mobility in your shoulders you will compensate by over-arching your back (excessive anterior tilt), thrusting your ribs up, etc. Although compensating like this to achieve a movement may work in the short term, the compounding effect of repetitively doing this will take a toll on your body and an injury will become unavoidable. Think about longevity in your sport and analyze yourself critically.

The scapula help to transfer forces from the legs and core to the arms. Learning to control them and hold them in an optimal position will increase your performance. We see SO many people struggle with scapular position and stability. Look around at how many people have winging shoulder blades!

Take a look at this video for a better understanding of the issue. Notice the way he is rotating his armpits forward to slide the shoulder blade into optimal position. 

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Do you have difficulty pressing overhead? 🙋‍♂️If you have shoulder pain or limitations when pressing overhead, a lot of those limitations come from a lack of shoulder blade control. This is one of the last videos for awhile where we will be talking about this shoulder blade rotation stuff. . . You may notice that Mike says NOT to shrug the shoulder… this isn’t necessarily the case when pressing overhead. What wasn’t added into the video is that you MUST rotate the blade forward and reach your armpit toward the ceiling. This will “shrug” the shoulder while also keeping the blade active and pressed to the rib cage. Shrugging the upper traps will stabilize the top of the blade while the serratus muscles (knives on the side of the torso) and lower traps will stabilize the rest of the blade into position. Many times, people do NOT rotate the blade and ONLY shrug the shoulder, this can contribute to #ShoulderImpingement, neck tightness, or other injuries in the area. This lack of body awareness is brought about from excessive sitting and poor movement education. . A reason that it can be difficult to rotate the shoulder blade into position is due to various tight muscles: #PectoralisMinor (The smaller muscle drawn on me), the levator scapulae, #rhomboids, and upper traps. Smashing these muscles with a lacrosse ball or other method, then working on rotating that blade into position with some resistance will help to keep the blade in that position. Tight #LatissimusDorsi and #PectoralisMajor muscles can be limiters when lifting the arm up overhead as well. . . The 2nd video is a joke… kind of… . . Go to if you are interested in the monkey kettlebell. . . 🎨 art by @AshleyKayArt 📹 by @theautomaker 💻Written by Andrew Dettelbach @MoveUShirtlessDude 🤪 . . 🌐Want more help from us? The MoveU online program allows us to help people all over the world. Learn more, and begin improving today at, or simply click the link in our bio.🌐 . . #MoveU #FixYoShit #pecs #pecminor #pecmajor

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What should your overhead position look like? Elbows should be locked out, but not hyperextended. You should be pressing upward forcefully as if you are trying to reach the ceiling. Your core should be braced and your ribs should not be thrusting. You should have a neutral pelvis. (No excessive arch or rounding of the lower back). The bar should be over the mid foot. Your head should go forward a bit but not as much as a pigeon. Most people already have a forward head posture due to so much electronic usage, so be cautious not to thrust your head too far forward. This will just contribute to more neck pain, shoulder tightness, etc.

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Record yourself doing an overhead strict press from the side. Analyze your video for the above cues. Are you maintaining all of them? If not, focus on some mobility drills for the thoracic spine and shoulders. This may include stretches, rolling the area with a lacrosse ball or foam roller, massage, using vibration therapy, or mobility exercises. Here’s an exercise that will help with not only the neck but with your overhead mobility as well! 

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Tight neck? Headaches🧠? Walking around with your shoulders up near your ears👂? This is for you! Tag a friend who walks around like Quasimodo, too! We spend a lot of time carrying tension in our upper traps. Here’s a little technique you can use at the gym to help yourself out. . . This self-massage technique can be a great way to loosen up the muscles and help you achieve a more optimal positioning of your shoulder blades, head and neck. I frequently receive the question “what do you think of…” in regards to massage, chiropractic care, cupping, etc. They can be amazing tools when working on your body. To achieve long term results you must also strengthen though. None of those things offer a long term solution. Head to our quick fix exercise library at to find more exercises for this area. . . When doing this please use common sense and don’t hurt yourself. Make sure you really focus on extending the arm away from you as if a string was pulling your hand away. This will intensify the stretch. You can apply that to lateral stretching of the neck. Play around with it. It’s fun! . . The @theragun at the end of the video will break up the trap 10x faster than the barbell! . . 🔆Visit to use our Quick Fix exercise library, our Forever Fix program, our merchandise store, etc. Fix Yo Shit.🔆 . . -💻Written by Katie Goss @MoveUKatie . . #MoveU #NeckPain #Trapezius #Barbell #Muscles #ComeBackStronger #FixYoShit #theragun

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After you’ve spent a little time working on the mobility repeat the recording of yourself in the same position and compare it to the before video. Note any improvements and also areas that still need work. Understand that change takes time and although you may notice some immediate changes you will need to work on this consistently for some time to make substantial improvements. Body awareness is key! Time to improve your shoulder mobility.

Fix Yo Shit. Develop a strong, balanced body, and live without pain or limitation.