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Shoulder Pain? Try This Overhead Progression

One of the most overlooked components to upper body strength is the overhead press (this is especially common in the endurance athlete). It's common to be limited in this direction due to pain and/or stiffness. When doing overhead presses, if you're finding your arms too far forward you may be lacking the essential strength and mobility through your upper back, shoulder blades and rotator cuffs to bring your arms and line with your ears.

Your goal is to get your arms into a vertical position without leaning back. If your arms are in front of your ears try this three part progression to improve your shoulder shoulder blade and upper spine mobility.

Step 1: Find where you are in the progression (1. Full range 2. Full range + resistance 3. Resistance without foam roll support). For stretching your target is 1-3 minutes of repetitive movement. For strength/coordination aim for 4-15 reps moving slowly.

Step 2: Work on turning up the volume. This means try to spend more and more time doing this movement slowly with good control.

Step 3: Progress load/coordination. Start pretty light on the band and make sure that you can keep your forearms and a parallel orientation. If the resistance is too much, you will note that your elbows will flare out to the sides causing you to “chicken wing”.

*If this is a new exercise for you, take it slow at your pace and listen to your body. You shouldn’t experience any night pain or pain (not muscle soreness) that lasts > 24 hrs. If you do, you’re doing too much. Reach out if you have any questions!

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