Fit body secrets: shoulder mobility

We started at the bottom, and now we're here: The shoulders. "Focusing on shoulder mobility is probably one of the most important things you can do for yourself," Stolz explains. "The shoulders drive all upper body movement and have an enormous effect on the lower body and gait function. Try running without moving your shoulders—you won't be running very fast." As with the ankles and hips and knees, Stolz emphasizes the critical connectivity at work. "It's really important to remember that everything's connected, so if one of these joints isn't moving properly, it's going to take its toll on other joints."

Our day jobs aren't helping: Hours spent hunched over keyboards and mobile devices contribute to poor posture, which impedes proper shoulder function. "If I'm always in a poor postural stance and try to do overhead pushing and pulling movements, the shoulder takes the brunt," says Stolz. At baseline, mobility work should have a place in your weekly training regimen. Stolz advises those who have a strong upper-body focus in their program, or those who do a significant amount of pressing movements (think bench and shoulder presses), to incorporate this type of movement daily.

R8 forearm mobility

Kneel, resting your left knee on a foam mat or yoga block, keeping your right knee bent 90 degrees. Resting one handle of the R8 roller on your quad, extend your arm between the rollers, palm facing down. Using the R8 roller, slowly roll the length of your forearm from your wrist to your elbow, rotating your arm 90 degrees as you do so. Switch arms and repeat. Be sure to move your arm and hand in multiple directions. 

VYPER should mobility (lats/serratus)

Lying on the floor on your left side, position a VYPER beneath your shoulder socket, extending your left arm straight so that your body makes a straight line. Divide your lat into two sections: armpit to the middle of your shoulder blade, and then a few inches below the shoulder blade to the middle of the shoulder blade. Your left leg should be extended, and your right knee bent and right foot flat. Use your right hand to make small revolutions with the VYPER along the muscles beneath your shoulder and armpit. Be sure to change directions. Roll for one minute and then switch arms and repeat. 

Supernova shoulder mobility (pec major/pec minor)

Lying prone, find your collar bone and then place a Supernova about an inch below, keeping your right elbow bent 90 degrees in a goalpost position and resting your chin on your left hand. Extend your right arm to slightly roll the Supernova about one inch; reverse motion. Repeat for one minute, starting close to your armpit and moving down and to the center of the chest; switch arms and repeat. 

Shoulder mobility lat focus with band traction

Secure one end of a band to the top of a cable column or machine and hold the other in your left hand, facing the machine. Step back until the band is taut and your left arm extended above your head. Hinging from the waist, with legs slightly wider than hip-width, rotate so that your right arm drives across your torso. Continue for one minute; switch sides and repeat. 

Split stance shoulder mobility with band traction

Secure one end of a band to the top of a cable column or machine, facing away from the machine. Loop the opposite end around your right tricep. In a staggered stance with your right foot slightly in front of your left, lunge forward with your right leg. Once you lunge out with your foot, stay in this position and drive your hips forward. This creates tension (stretch) from the attachment of the abs and obliques all the way up into the shoulder joint where the lats and pecs attach. Continue for one minute; switch sides and repeat. 

And remember to start at the bottom of the chain:

Fit Body Secrets: Ankle Mobility

Photographed by Mike Rosenthal; Grooming by Marina Gravini; Art Direction + Styled by Ashley Martin