Overhead and Thoracic Mobility

by Todd Sabol

What is going on guys, happy Mobility Monday! There is no better way to start the week than by getting a solid training session in, and your training has to include focusing on your weak points. This week’s Mobility Monday tip focuses on an opener for the thoracic spine and overhead mobility. If you are an Olympic lifter, or participate in a sport with a lot of overhead involvement, this is for you. In really any activity that requires upper extremity involvement, you must have proper integrity of the upper back musculature and proper scapulothoracic movement. When the scapula is not moving and rotating on the ribs properly, it causes inefficient movement patterns and pain will follow.

This movement will start with you needing a surface about the height of a desk, table or high couch. You will be on your knees and from there put both your arms, fully extended, on the elevated surface. From there you will need to lean down into the elevated surface and push your head through your arms, like you are finishing an overhead barbell press. Hold this position for 5 seconds and relax. Repeat 10 times for a total of 3 sets. Scapulothoracic rhythm is associated with all the other movements we have talked about, because without the scapula properly moving on the thoracic cavity, we would not be able to move efficiently. The initial 30 degrees of abduction can occur without scapular involvement, but after that point, in every additional 3 degrees of motion, 2 degrees come from the GH joint, and 1 degree comes from the scapulothoracic joint. If this rhythm is off, movement efficiency will be poor, pain will likely present and further injury can occur. The important movements of the scapulothoracic joint are elevation, depression, protraction, retraction and rotation. Give this movement a try and feel your overhead movement and overall upper body efficiency improve!

Todd Sabol - Contributor


Injury Prevention, Rehabilitation, Functional Examination, Soft Tissue Treatment


BS, Marietta College, 2015

MS, Ohio University, 2017


BOC Certified Athletic Trainer, 2015

OTPTAT Licensed Athletic Trainer, 2015


Currently is in his third year as Head Athletic Trainer at New Lexington High School providing sports medicine services for all athletes. He is the owner of his own sports medicine seminar business which provides seminars for Ohio coaching certifications. He also provides treatment at Old School Gym for Cory Gregory and numerous other members.

"I have always strived to be a practitioner of what I do. Whether that was being a collegiate soccer player or now engaging in powerlifting and bodybuilding, I strive to push my body to its limits like the clients I treat so I can be a more effective clinician. I get no better feeling than having someone leaving a treatment session with me feeling, moving and performing better, it is the reason I love what I do."

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