Have you ever seen a really strong guy that looks like he has a penguin walk because he cant move? A person can be really strong, lack motion and have lots of pain. Mobility must come first to fix a motion problem no matter how strong you are if you lack motion your chances of injury are much higher.
I recently I got to work with Steve who was a surfer who was having lower back pain. He would head out for dawn patrol most mornings then sit at a desk the rest of the day. He had been working on his back getting massages, rolling out, increasing his core and low back exercise to build strength with no success. After assessing his low back he looked great, he was moving well with full low back range, and his core wasn’t bad. Due to this I had him show me his paddle position. This started to show his limitations, he had minimal upper back motion causing increased need for motion in his low back. With upper back limitations we next took a look at his shoulder mobility, which turned out to be very limited. Because he was so limited with his shoulder and upper back mobility he needed to move more through his lower back to still be able to paddle out.
Steve had good core strength and had great shoulder endurance with good stability in the motion he had. Even though his strength and stability were good he had pain because of his poor mobility. To fix his problems we need to first address his mobility issues then gain stability in his new range. Mobility must come before stability. The following exercises are the ones that Steve got to improve his shoulder and upper back mobility that got rid of his back pain.
Band Overhead Mobility
Perform for 2-3 minutes moving the body to fine tune and find the stiffest part of the shoulder.
Band External Rotation
Perform for 2-3 minutes moving the arm up and down to fine tune and find the stiffest part of the shoulder.
Band Thoracic Opener
Perform for 2-3 minutes moving the body closer or further away from the heels to fine tune and find the stiffest part of the upper back.
Thoracic Opener On Peanut
Perform for 2-3 minutes the arms and hips to fine tune and find the stiffest part of the upper back.
After the mobility exercises are completed it should be followed up with some light stability exercises to get the muscles working in the new range.