I’m wanting to work on improving my mobility specifically for bench. How can I do this?
Improving mobility will take time and effort. The areas that you will want to focus on for bench specifically will be thoracic spine and shoulder mobility and stability. People find these areas hard to improve as they can be stubborn especially if you work at a desk for long periods of time.
Before we get started it’s important to know the difference between mobility and stability.
Mobility is related to the joints and their ability to move actively through their full range of motion. Think of lifting your leg in the air to a 90-degree angle and bringing it back down again. That’s active mobility. To have good mobility, you do need good flexibility.
Stability is related to the ability of the body to maintain postural equilibrium and support joints during movement.
First of all I’d recommend rolling out the T spine with your roller
For the first 2 minutes, have your arms cuddle yourself and round the back- then start slowly rolling up and down your back without allowing any extension.
After two minutes take your lacrosse ball and place it in your lower trap between your shoulder blade and spine. Lying on your back, gently push your weight into the ball and make small circles. Do NOT hold your breath when doing release work. I’d recommend 2 minutes with the lacrosse ball on each shoulder.
After doing your release work I’d recommend these few mobility drills that to help increase the flexibility and stability of your upper back which will not only help your arch but your spinal and shoulder health in general.
Thread the needles on all fours with the roller under your forearm. 8-10 reps each side.
Cat Cows- on all fours, not allowing the elbows to bend. Rounding and extending the spine as much as you can for 10 reps. Then push back into child’s pose and try and extend and round the upper back as much as you can so repeating cat cows but in a child’s pose position- blocking out the lower back and focusing on the upper. Doing this for another 10 reps.
Puppy pose on a chair or table. Arms straight- stretching out the shoulders. On all fours with your knees underneath hips. Shoulders towards your ears and armpits facing the floor. Gently push your chest down to the floor without allowing elbows to bend. 2 sets of 30 second holds.
Downward dog - shoulders to ears and allowing the tailbone to push to the ceiling, gently walk through the feet and allow the chest to push to the floor. 2 sets 30 seconds.
Prone Scorpion - lying on your front with your arms out to the side and palms down. Taking the opposite leg over the other-side of the body. 8 reps each side.
Lying over a roller and extending outwards and backwards over the roller with arms overhead and shoulder width apart. Keeping bum on the floor- breathe as you extend over. 10-15 reps with a short hold in extension, if you are having trouble keeping bum on the floor place a cushion underneath.
Sphynx or Cobra Pose- do this actively and carefully. Do NOT just push back into cobra- slowly curl up the spine working each part of the back to curl upwards. Make sure to engage the glutes, core and pelvic floor throughout. Do 3 sets of 1 holding for 10-15 seconds.
After doing all this I would then recommend cooling down in a child’s pose for around 30 seconds. I’d recommend trying to do this routine 1-2 times a week if you are really wanting to improve your bench.
Happy lifting and enjoy getting mobile! 💪