Are you struggling with pain or mobility issues in the overhead position?
Do you feel like you've hit a wall in your handstands, your overhead pressing, or pull-ups?
Then you're going to love this somatic exploration for overhead control. In this exercise we're going to look at a unique way to sync mind and body so that you can move your shoulders with more strength and ease.
At the end of the day, the root of pain and mobility issues often comes down to a lack of control. Our nervous systems often don't know how to effectively and efficiently organize our bodies within a given task. When that happens, it's no wonder that injuries crop up.
Think of it this way: if you only know one route to get across town, then you're out of luck when there's a road closure. But if you know multiple alternate routes, you have better chances of making your way from Point A to Point B. Our joints work in a similar way. If you can only control a small range of motion, then you're going to run into trouble when you ask your body to control anything outside of that range.
It's imperative that we give our bodies more options for solving particular movement tasks.
Somatic education is particularly helpful because it uses our natural ability to learn movement through curiosity, awareness, and repetition with variation. Consider: no baby learned how to walk through sets and reps of anything we'd call "exercises." They learn through trial and error...all driven by a desire to engage with the world around them.
This is the natural way we learn how to move. And we can get a taste of it in the following exploration. Before we dive in, it's important to clarify a few points:
- Move with awareness and curiosity. There's no real task to accomplish, no boxes to check.
- Don't move into painful ranges of motion. Stick with what feels easy for you and your body.
- Tune in to whatever sensations you notice. There's nothing in particular you're supposed to feel.
With that said, here's a simple exploration you can go through to find more ease and control in your shoulders, particularly in the overhead position:
Although the video itself is only 5 minutes long, give yourself up to 15-20 minutes to go through the full exploration. As we talk about in our free neuromuscular warmup, there are big benefits to moving slowly and mindfully.
Doing so allows your nervous system to gather more sensory information, which in turn improves the quality of your movement. Give it a try, and if you find it useful, share with a friend who is having trouble with their shoulders.