Clean up your mobility act!!

Following on from my previous article “Stretch or mobility for Rugby”, we take a look at a more specific approach to optimising your thoracic and upper limb mobility in preparation for the more complex lifting techniques.

To achieve the most efficient lifting technique, exercises such as the power clean and front squat require a full range of movement at the wrists, elbows, shoulders and thoracic spine. Here we present a few trade secrets to help you achieve and maintain the range required, to reduce injury risk and improve your lifting efficiency…


Sliding Surface Release

Mobility through the thoracic spine is essential in achieving the freedom of movement required at the upper limb. Foam rolling is a good starting point to begin your warm up. This video demonstrates exercises that are geared towards mobilisation of the posterior longitudinal sling, posterior oblique sling and lateral sling.


Joint Mechanics

To benefit from the hard work put into foam rolling, it is essential to back this up with joint positioning work. To achieve the extremes of range demanded from lifts such as cleans, clean & jerk and front squat, it is very important to spend time in these positions (in a controlled manner), to achieve tissue adaptation…

Wrist & Elbow Mobilisation

1. Non-weight bearing mobiliser – 5x30s each wrist

2. Weight bearing mobiliser – 5x30s each wrist

(Place your hands on a bench / box with your fingertips facing you. Gently rock back and feel the stretch in your forearms).

3.  Barbell wrist mobiliser – 5x30s each wrist

Play around with your hand placement on the bar – adjust through wider or narrower width grips until you find a comfortable position for you. 
– Ensure you have weight on the bar to generate a sufficient load though the wrist .
– Approach the bar with elbows forward and place your hands roughly shoulder width on the bar.
– Stand into the bar, maintaining the weight through the wrist… the bar does not lift from the rack.

[toggle title=”Barbell Wrist Mobiliser” open=”no”]

[vimeo id=”104190733″ width=”699″ height=”350″ autoplay=”no” api_params=“”]



Shoulder Mobilisation

To benefit from the improvements in wrist and elbow mobility, it is critical that shoulder mobility is not neglected. Maintaining optimal shoulder mobility will result in significant improvements in lifting efficiency and reduced injury risk.

Work through these exercises using a 5x30s each arm format:


[toggle title=”1. Trigger Point Rotator Cuff Mobiliser” open=”no”]

[vimeo id=”104190835″ width=”699″ height=”350″ autoplay=”no” api_params=“”]


[toggle title=”2. Kettlebell Shoulder Mobiliser” open=”no”]

[vimeo id=”104190335″ width=”699″ height=”350″ autoplay=”no” api_params=“”]


[toggle title=”3. Mobility band shoulder opener” open=”no”]

[vimeo id=”104190070″ width=”699″ height=”350″ autoplay=”no” api_params=“”]


[toggle title=”4. Mobility band tricep opener” open=”no”]

[vimeo id=”104190207″ width=”699″ height=”350″ autoplay=”no” api_params=“”]


[toggle title=”5. Barbell Shoulder Mobiliser” open=”no”]

[vimeo id=”104190508″ width=”699″ height=”350″ autoplay=”no” api_params=“”]




There are no short-cuts when it comes to achieving improvements in mobility and joint range. The truth is that tissues adapt over time, so it’s a case of regular compliance with the suggested exercises… Don’t skip  mobility pre-hab work!!!

Please note, If you are experiencing persistent wrist, elbow or shoulder pain, be sure to consult a musculoskeletal specialist such as a Chartered Physiotherapist or a Consultant Sports and Exercise Medicine Doctor as soon as possible.



Dan Jones


[separator top=”10″ bottom=”10″]

Rugby Renegade Subscribers benefit from an exclusive
40% discount code on all PAS Nutrition products!!

Simply use the following code at checkout….

in Sierra Nevada

Recommended Posts