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4 Mobility Drills To Improve Your Overhead Press

exerciseprogramming mobility strengthtraining Feb 26, 2020

Performing an overhead press is a great way to build upper body strength and mobility, and is extremely functional to daily and sport activities. Whether your goals are to improve performance in your sport, increase your mobility, add strength or size to your arms, or just feel better with your posture and day to day activities - the overhead press is one of those foundational movements that should be in your program.

While the overhead press is a foundational movement, it is also one that can expose areas of limited mobility. To properly perform, you need to have adequate mobility in your thoracic spine, lats, pecs, triceps, and shoulder joint. Although the press can seem like a simple movement at face value, missing mobility in these key areas can cause compensation that leads to pain or injury.

We work with several clients who come to see us for neck pain, shoulder pain, and overall stiffness in posture that can be linked back to missing mobility in these key areas. Once we go through an assessment to identify the key root cause, we can prescribe the right mobility exercises that allows for better positions with the overhead press - and therefore leads to better movement and less pain.

Here are some of the main areas where we find many clients we work with to have limited mobility, and some mobility drills you can try to help improve your overhead press:

Thoracic Rotation Mobility

Thoracic mobility is often the first place to look if your pressing mobility is limited. Perform both with hand behind the head and behind the back as shown to improve mobility in this area.

Kneeling Lat/Triceps Mobility

This variation is one of our clients favorites for opening up the triceps, lats, and upper back all in one. Play around with bending and straightening the elbows to find the best stretch.

Kettlebell Halo

 Here we are moving into a more active variation of improving mobility. Keep stomach and butt squeezed tight to avoid arching at your lower back, and then trace a close circle around your head with the kettlebell.

Z Press


Once you start to improve your mobility, it’s time to put all the pieces together. This seated press variation is a great way to take the hips and lower back out of the equation to really expose (and help correct) any mobility limitations you might have.

Try these out and see if you can notice an immediate improvement in how your pressing feels. If you’ve been dealing with pain or tightness that is keeping you from feeling and performing your best with your workouts, contact us today.

Whatever your goals or wherever you’re at, you can schedule a free 15 minute phone consult with one of our Performance Doctors of Physical Therapy to talk through your goals and help guide you to your next best step. We help active individuals like you every single day get out of pain and back to the activities you love. Don’t wait to feel and perform your best.

Most people don’t know how to stay healthy and fit without getting hurt. At Inside Out Strength and Performance we provide a clear plan to get you in the best shape of your life, without getting injured, so that you can be active and confident that you’ll feel your best for years to come.

We help North County San Diego’s active adults and runners dealing with pain or injury get back to living a pain-free, strong, and confident life.

We are the Strength Docs who help active adults and runners live a strong, confident, and pain-free life. Fill out our contact form to get a clear plan and get started.


Frustrated with your current care or dealing with a pain or injury that just won't go away? Talk with one of our Docs today to find out the best way to get back to your best self.

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