Kettlebell Mobility to Release Your Shoulders and Back

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  • November 18, 2016

Even if you’ve adopted a standing desk and good movement habits into your life, chances are you still spend a fair amount of the day sitting or with your upper back hunched and shoulders rolled inward. Chronic bad posture can result in everything from restricted mobility, to pain and tension, to an inability to breathe well.

So let’s help your shoulders and back open up by using this simple sequence of corrective exercises. You’ll need only a small amount of space and a light kettlebell or two.

A Sequence to Rescue Your Shoulders and Back

When it comes to posture, the two most common trouble areas are:

  1. Thoracic spine mobility: Specifically, the ability to extend the thoracic spine (your upper back) without compromising the lumbar spine (your lower back). For many of us, we are not able to freely move all our vertebrae and our back is locked into one big piece.
  2. Shoulder mobility: Specifically, we’re going to work with scapular movement and humeral rotation. Said another way, we’re going to work on un-sticking your shoulder blades and rotating your upper arm.

We’re going to address these problems areas by working through the following:

  1. We’ll start with the kettlebell halo from the half-kneeling position. Do rotations in each direction and on each leg. So rotate left and right while kneeling on your right leg, then go left and right while kneeling on your left leg. Do 2 to 3 sets of 15-20 reps for each of these.
  2. Then we’re going to use one position from the get-up. You’ll start in a half-kneeling position, then hinge over and place your palm on the ground. From there, you will slowly rotate your shoulder. This will work on strengthening and stabilizing your shoulder. Do 2 to 3 sets of 15-20 reps.
  3. Next, you will repeat the rotational movements in the half-kneeling position with the kettlebell overhead. If you experience any pain in this position, don’t worry. You can skip this position for now, and as you build up mobility, stability, and strength, you’ll be able to add this one into the sequence. Do 2 to 3 sets of 15-20 reps.
  4. The final position is done without the kettlebell and is called the cobra. Be sure to coordinate your breathing with your contractions. Hold for five complete breaths and work your way up to be able to hold this position for ten breaths. Do 3 rounds of this.

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Brandon Hofer on Facebook
Brandon Hofer
After his first experience with a yoga DVD borrowed from the local library, Brandon was hooked. Combined with his discovery of kettlebells, he had finally found the perfect balance between strength training and yoga practice, and is more than happy to spread the word and help others discover the same foundation for living strong and enjoying more confidence and happiness.

Brandon is a personal trainer, yoga teacher, kettlebell enthusiast, father, husband, and defender of the Kaizen way of life and health. He lives in Beaverton, Oregon with his lovely wife Marisa and their two daughters, where he helps clients recover from weakness, injuries, surgeries, accidents, and chronic medical conditions by holistically blending various styles of kettlebell training, bodyweight exercises, yoga, along with meal plans that nourish and sustain you from the inside out. You can learn more by visiting his website, The Kaizen Way.

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