Thoracic Mobility for Overhead Pressing

Thoracic Mobility for Overhead Pressing

Arching while overhead pressing or bench pressing is a controversial topic in the weightlifting world.  We will be addressing the safety of arching, ways you can improve your arch, and how chiropractic care can help improve it!

Safety First - Is Arching a Safe Lifting Practice?

Let’s talk about safety first. We get asked this all the time – how is pressing/benching with a purposeful arch actually safe? The fact is, when all stabilizers (shoulders, core, hips) are optimally engaged, this is the safest position for your body. Why? The ability to retract the shoulder blades actually allows for a more stable upper body by preventing the shoulders from internally rotating under load, which would be a huge risk for injury. Moving down the chain, pairing this with solid core stability – which should be a goal for ALL movements – will further protect the spine.

Obtaining a Stable Arch

So now, how do you go about getting into this arched position? The degree of said arch and the goals with it may be athlete specific. If you’re a powerlifter, obtaining as great  an arch as you can will give you an advantage in competition. If you’re someone casually working on your bench or overhead press, getting a feel for a comfortable range of extension may be sufficient. 

Working on your thoracic (upper back) range of motion can help to improve your arch.  There are a variety of movements that you can utilize to help improve how well your back moves.  Here are a few of our favorite exercises:   

Still Struggling - Time for Advanced Intervention

While these movements are great to help increase thoracic mobility you may be having restrictions in the joints of the spine that are preventing you from obtaining a good, pain free arch.  Chiropractic care, like what we do in our clinic, can help to “free up” joints and muscular tightness and restore proper joint range of motion.  Some of the tools that we use include: opens in a new window spinal manipulation, opens in a new windowsoft tissue mobilization and opens in a new windowtherapeutic exercise. 

Arching while pressing overhead is a technique used to create a stable base to press from and to help keep your shoulders safe from injury.  If you have more questions about arching while pressing or need help with finding a pain free arch, give us a call 314.892.8009 or schedule an appointment with our doctor!

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