Breaking Down the FMS – Shoulder Mobility (SM)

This week we are going to discuss Shoulder Mobility in the Functional Movement Screen(FMS).  The Shoulder Mobility screen can reveal limitations in the shoulder, scapula, thoracic spine and lumbopelvic (low back and hip) area.

Limited Shoulder Mobility can be caused by a number of factors.  The most common is poor posture.  Many of us sit hunched over at a desk with our shoulders rolled forward and our head reaching out.  This improper alignment causes a decrease in thoracic mobility and muscular imbalances.

When there is a lack of Shoulder Mobility on the FMS we limit overhead pressing during training (as in – we don’t do any -ed.).  This is important because if you don’t have the shoulder mobility to properly reach your arms overhead then you are going to achieve the movement through mobility in the low back.  The low back is not where you want to be getting the movement from – ouch!

scapular movement

Besides the FMS shoulder mobility screen, another way to see if you have the proper shoulder mobility to be pressing overhead is to see how your low back responds to overhead extension. Start by standing up against a wall.  Your feet can be about a foot away from the wall but your back has to be flat up against the wall.  Lift your arms up straight, palms facing each other and try to touch the wall with your thumbs.  Your low back should not come off the wall.  If it does then this shows that in order to lift your arms overhead you are relying on mobility from your low back.  Over time this can lead to low back injuries, and adding injury to injury is not good!

Nancy Shoulder exercise

So how do you increase Shoulder Mobility?  Great question!  You work on your personalized exercises on a regular basis.  You can’t just rely on doing them in training.  You must commit to doing them on your own as well.  Set aside 5-10 minutes a day at least five days a week to do these exercises. Our starting point for increasing shoulder mobility is to work on thoracic (upper back) mobility, as this is often a cause of the restrictions mentioned previously. This is so important that we often build the following two movements into our warmups for all our students.

SGT Guys – Open Book

SGT Guys – Quadraped Reachback

Do 5 reps on both sides of each exercise – every day would be ideal, but any is better than none!

Dedicated to getting better together,

Coach Erin

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