I’ve screened many people with the Functional Movement Screen. In conducting all of those screens, I’ve observed typical patterns, one of which tends to be shoulder mobility issues. While this post is not a treatment plan or medical advice, it is the quick shoulder mobility series I use after the initial individual work and correctives. It’s a great way to open up thoracic and shoulder mobility after a long day of sitting or just living in today’s world.
I have my students perform the series as a superset. They move from one exercise to the next without a break. I typically have them perform the series three times. It’s a great mobility set and general warm-up for the session ahead.
We start with the RKC armbar. Use an appropriate weight for the movement. What is appropriate? I typically use a 14kg for the series as it is a warm-up / mobility drill and not strength focused. There are several versions of the RKC armbar, but I tend to have my knee bent at 90 degrees to keep my lumbar spine out of the exercise. This also focuses the exercise on the mid-thoracic area instead of rolling your hips into the ground. I like to take 3-5 breaths per side before moving on to the next drill.
The next stop is the bretzel stretch. I rest my head on a roller or another padded surface to keep my neck free of tension so I can focus on the movement. I breathe to move through the stretch: I breath in, tighten up, then relax and exhale as I move deeper into the stretch. I typically practice for 3-5 breaths per side to move through the stretch.
The last move in the set is the kettlebell halo. Since this is still a mobility exercise and not a strength move, I keep the weight at 14kg. I like the half kneeling position as it also helps to teach the body how to be stable. You can also do the halo standing if your knees prevent you from kneeling. While I did not demonstrate it in the video below, you can also use half kneeling to develop stability. I perform ten halos in one direction and ten in the other.
After a 30 second rest, I begin the series again.
If you have shoulder pain, do not perform any of these exercises without medical evaluation. I also highly recommend that you see an FMS practitioner for screening to address any and all movement issues.