The 8 Best Drills to Unlock Your Shoulder Mobility - The Barbell Physio

The 8 Best Drills to Unlock Your Shoulder Mobility

The 8 Best Drills to Unlock Your Shoulder Mobility

Shoulder mobility is absolutely crucial to the fitness athlete wanting to perform optimally. Far too often, athletes waste time foam rolling and performing band distraction drills that only temporarily improve their movement. Then the next day they must repeat the process again.

We don’t want temporary changes. We want long-standing improvements in mobility that also translates to improved performance. And that’s exactly what you’ll get with these 8 shoulder mobility drills.


If you want a done-for-you shoulder mobility program, check out our OVERHEAD MOBILITY OVERHAUL. This is a four day per week program designed to unlock your shoulders in just ten minutes per workout!

Posterior Capsule PAILs & RAILs

The sleeper stretch has long been used to improve shoulder mobility, but this variation with a strong isometric contraction at end range of internal rotation. This drill will not only improve your internal rotation, but frequently improves overhead shoulder mobility while decreasing painful shoulders and is my current favorite drill.


Prone Lift Offs

Prone lift offs are a great shoulder mobility drill because they also provide a significant stimulus to build upper back strength while increasing flexibility. Start with a wide grip and bring hands in until you reach a width that makes getting your upper arm in line with your ears difficult but not impossible. Keep abs and glutes tight to focus the movement on the shoulders and not cheating with thoracolumbar spine extension.


Crab Sliders

One of the most forgotten shoulder mobility is shoulder extension and I repeatedly see athletes with limitations in extension that affect their dips, muscle ups, and bench press. And improving shoulder extension is another fast trick for rapidly decreasing shoulder pain.


Scapula CARs while Hanging

Hanging from a pull-up bar can be a great mobility drill for the shoulders but again, we want more than just passive mobility. Performing slow, controlled scapula movements while hanging will improve mobility, control for gymnastics movements, and makes a great rehab move as well.


Supine Raises

Eccentrics (the lowering portion of a lift) performed slowly are perhaps the best mobility technique to use for any muscle or joint. By performing slow eccentrics with a lightly weighted bar, you can really improve shoulder flexion and external rotation, resulting in better positioning for the overhead lifts and gymnastic moves.


Overhead Opener for Shoulder Mobility

The overhead opener is a great exercise for stretching the entire shoulder girdle and thoracic spine. When wanting to improve overhead mobility, maximizing thoracic extension is a must. Try the overhead opener as well as these drills I’ve previously discussed HERE and HERE.

Down Dog

When the shoulders go into elevation, the scapula (shoulder blade) should also upwardly rotate. By performing the traditional yoga move down-dog, you can really activate the serratus anterior to work on this scapula motion as well as mobilize the thoracic spine.


Bench Thoracic Spine Mobilization for Shoulder Mobility

Another great drill to stretch not only the shoulders but the thoracic spine.