This past weekend, Anthony Vittese, a great physical therapist in the south New Jersey area and I were talking about restoring proper overhead movement which is usually pretty poor with most people because of terrible kyphotic posture. In his setting specifically, this is one motion that he works on to help his clientele function without pain in their lives. In an athletic population, this is also one pattern that should be restored so that athletes can have proper function in the shoulder which can decrease the risk of shoulder injuries. Especially if they are overhead athletes. The lower trap is often a muscle that gets inhibited due to upper trap dominance and poor posture. Gray Cook in one of the strength coach podcasts called the Reach, Roll, and Lift one of his favorite shoulder exercises. What this exercise does…
- Restore correct muscle recruitment patterns of the lower trap, rotator cuff, and lats
- Pattern an overhead movement position
One of our clients at Endeavor has had pain with simply raising his arms overhead and this was just one of the exercises we use because he does have poor overhead range of motion and is upper trap dominat (a lot of shrugging while raising the arm overhead or when rowing). One of the compensations I see our client when doing the reach, roll, and lift is flexing at the elbow during the “lift” portion of the exercise. In talking with Anthony Vittese, this was a typical compensation. A few ways to regress the exercise was in this order.
Compensation: Flexing at the biceps while lifting
1. Band Assisted
2. On Stability Ball
The third phase would be on the floor as is in the first videos. You could also do the exercise in prone position
How to do the reach, roll, and lift
1. Lying prone or sitting back into your hips (the videos that I show first), purposefully shrug up with the scapula while sliding the hand, palm down, as far as possible without lifting it off floor. This lengthens the lower trap, rotator cuff, and lat which helps facilitate the contraction of of these muscles during the roll phase.
2. Next rotate the hand up (palm up as much as possible), then “pack” the shoulder down & back which is pulling the humerus (upper arm bone) down and depressing the scapula. The packed position is the stable, safe position you want in order for the scapular muscles to work optimally in the overhead position.
3. The “lift” is now attempted. The height of the lift will only be an inch or two, but that is not important at the time. Keep the shoulder packed and arm straight as you lift. Focusing the mobility and lower trap/serratus strength is what we want to focus on.
If someone has poor overhead range of motion, simply doing this drill will not cure it. You need to work on t-spine mobility and other overhead mobility drills. Also, if someone’s posture is God-awful this puts the scapula in an unfavorable position which limits the overhead motion so doing just a reach, roll, and lift may not be good enough to get the full overhead motion back.
Categories: Injury Prevention