Fit Body Secrets: Shoulder Mobility

In the third installment of his series, master trainer Josh Stolz moves up the chain to unlock the all-important shoulders.

The fittest bodies pay attention to detail. Their routines don’t eschew necessary work with a myopic fixation on their next quantifiable goal. So if you’re setting out to train smarter in 2015, you must make room for mobility work. In fact, for holistic, total-body fitness, mobility is just as important as all of the other facets of your regimen, says New York City-based master trainer Josh Stolz. 

We started at the bottom, and now we're here: The shoulders. "Focusing on shoulder mobility is probably one of the most important things you can do for yourself," Stolz explains. "The shoulders drive all upper body movement and have an enormous effect on the lower body and gait function. Try running without moving your shoulders—you won't be running very fast." 

As with the ankles and hips and knees, Stolz emphasizes the critical connectivity at work. "It's really important to remember that everything's connected, so if one of these joints isn't moving properly, it's going to take its toll on other joints."

Our day jobs aren't helping: Hours spent hunched over keyboards and mobile devices contribute to poor posture, which impedes proper shoulder function. "If I'm always in a poor postural stance and try to do overhead pushing and pulling movements, the shoulder takes the brunt," says Stolz. 

At baseline, mobility work should have a place in your weekly training regimen. Stolz advises those who have a strong upper-body focus in their program, or those who do a significant amount of pressing movements (think bench and shoulder presses), to incorporate this type of movement daily. 

Click on the slideshow for gif demonstrations of Stolz's shoulder mobility moves

And remember to start at the bottom of the chain: 

Fit Body Secrets: Ankle Mobility

Fit Body Secrets: Hip/Knee Mobility 

Photographed by Mike Rosenthal; Grooming by Marina Gravini; Art Direction + Styled by Ashley Martin