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Why Shoulder Mobility Is A Health Issue!

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Jessica Bento, Physical Therapist (Creator DVRT Restoration Certification, DVRT Rx Shoulder, Knees, Pelvic Control, & Gait Courses)

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“If you can’t put your arms overhead, that is not a fitness issue, is a health issue.”-Dr. Lee Burton

I couldn’t agree with this statement by Dr. Burton with anymore of applause. Of course there are individual cases where structural issues often caused by a significant injury may cause someone not to be able to get their arms overhead, but that is a VERY rare problem as I have seen in my 20 years of treating patients.

The great majority of people that have issues getting their arms overhead fall into one or more of these areas…

Neck: The cervical spine can have great impact upon our ability to move and have strength in our upper body, especially our shoulders. While a host of manual therapies can be used by professionals, some of the drills you see me perform in the video above are done so with specific breath work so that anyone can help restore proper mobility of the cervical spine as much as possible on their own.

Core Stability: Research after research paper points to the idea that “proximal stability creates distal mobility/strength”. That is, the more core stability we possess the more our nervous system will reduce the brakes it puts on when it perceives our body is unstable. When the nervous sees that we have proper core stability we can then unlock mobility and strength in our upper body (again, especially the thoracic spine and shoulder).

proximal stability


This is done by first in using our feet that helps build stability from the ground up. Then also using our hands to create proper tension that connects our core from the top down. Grip strength is also highly correlated with rotator cuff strength so we need to teach people to use their hands like you see me doing in drills like a half kneeling arc press, a sprinter stance kettlebell loaded press, and more.

Learning to press down is so key to teaching proper stability to unlock mobility that using drills like our bird dog drags and tall kneeling around the worlds, help build greater core stability while also teaching movement concepts that will enhance our mobility and strength.

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