Begin lying on the floor face up. Bend the left knee up to 90 degrees and cross the right leg over top of the left interlocking them. Roll to the left side and pin a folded towel or pad between the right knee and the floor. Place the arms in 90 degrees of shoulder flexion with the right on top of the left in an outstretched position. Next, slowly sweep the right arm up overhead and around the body as you attempt to place the torso/back on the floor. The finish position for the right arm will be reaching the right hand and arm up behind the back.
Exhale as you perform the sweeping motion and hold the end position for 2 seconds. Reverse direction and return to the start position. Perform 5-10 repetitions on each side.
Limited shoulder mobility is a common finding, especially among male clientele with tightness in the pecs, lats and posterior shoulder. Asymmetry with respect to mobility is common with greater difficulty found trying to reach the dominant arm up behind the back on the FMS shoulder mobility screen. This exercise will help improve thoracic spine motion and shoulder mobility. The focus should be on strict form and proper stabilization to avoid unwanted motion. Pinning the pad (or towel roll) to the floor will help ensure better stabilization.
If hypomibility is an issue and clients score a 1, foam rolling the pec minor/major, latissimus dorsi and the posterior rotator cuff musculature prior to performing the exercise will be helpful. Stability training can be added in later once the soft tissue mobility restrictions and movement pattern is improving.
Brian Schiff, PT, OCS, CSCS, is a licensed physical therapist, respected author and fitness professional. Currently, he serves as the supervisor for Athletes' Performance at Raleigh Orthopaedic in Raleigh, NC. Brian conducts live continuing education webinars and presents nationally at professional conferences and seminars on injury prevention, rehab and sport-specific training. For more information on his products and services, visit www.BrianSchiff.com.