Clear the T-Spine, Now We Can Start Talking Shoulders


Hey Mwodies,

One of the central ideas about the MWod model is that the trunk is a carriage or chassis for the primary engines of the shoulder and hip. So by extension, if your thoracic spine or pelvis are in a poor position you won’t be able to optimize hip or shoulder function. Today’s episode is a nice example of this concept. Carl Paoli ( has incredible capacity for overhead movement, but he is a little turtlely (like a turtle) in his upper back as a result of spending so much time as a high level gymnast as a kid. For Carl, this results in some definite forward neck on head positioning because his stiff T-spine literally blocks the correct positioning of his head. Oh, and of his shoulders too. We started trapping the sternum with a plate a few months ago when mobilizing the T-spine with the double lacrosse ball pea-nut. We noted that we had much better mobilization when the posterior to anterior mob force wasn’t dissipated through the sternum (plate keeps sternum down). Since we are trying to improve Carl’s overhead positioning we need to get him into an actual overhead position. As you can see in the video, it’s not Carl’s shoulder that limits his overhead shoulder position (end range flexion) but rather the car crash between his moving scapula and his T-spine/rib cage complex. When Lauren Hill said, “how you gonna win if you ain’t right within?” she obviously was referring to this relationship. Athletes are always talking about shoulder range, but rarely are they talking about shoulder complex range. Your scapula CONTAINS your shoulder. How are you ever really going to understand what the heck is going on with your shoulder function if your shoulder blades are always disorganized and move poorly.

Test/Retest: Overhead Press and handstand.


FavoriteLoadingAdd to favorites

28 thoughts on “Clear the T-Spine, Now We Can Start Talking Shoulders

  1. Pingback: Shoulder Warmup 1 | GorillaFitness

  2. Pingback: Monday 130701 | CrossFit NYC

  3. Pingback: 3S Swim TABATA 7-1-13 | fullpotentialendurance

  4. Pingback: 020713 Sentinel WODs « Reebok Crossfit Sentinel

  5. Pingback: SS Short Interval/ 3S Run TABATA 7-3-13 | fullpotentialendurance

  6. Pingback: SS Long Interval “Lactate Shuttle” / 3S Endurance Wod rest day 7-4-13 | fullpotentialendurance

  7. Pingback: 3S Lactate Shuttle Swim 7-5-13 | fullpotentialendurance

  8. Pingback: SS Tempo/TT 3S Run Long Interval or TT 7-7-13 | fullpotentialendurance

  9. Pingback: Monday July 8, 2013 | thebarbarianmission

  10. Pingback: Monday July 22, 2013 | thebarbarianmission

  11. Pingback: WOD for August 5, 2013 | Atl Barbell

  12. Pingback: 8.19.2013

  13. Pingback: CrossFit Intrepid » Shoulder Flexion Cues and Fixes

  14. Pingback: Thursday September 12

  15. Pingback: WOD for September 24, 2013 | Atl Barbell

  16. Pingback: WOD for October 30, 2013 | Atl Barbell

  17. Pingback: WOD for November 13, 2013 | Atl Barbell

  18. Pingback: WOD for November 20, 2013 | Atl Barbell

  19. Pingback: Monday November 25, 2013 | CrossFit Valley Center

  20. Pingback: WOD for December 3, 2013 | Atl Barbell

  21. Pingback: WOD for December 10, 2013 | Atl Barbell

  22. Pingback: WOD Jan 6 – Body Weight Warm Up and Strength | MaD CrossFit

  23. Pingback: Review: MobilityWOD Super Nova

  24. Pingback: Tuesday 25 February 2014 | CrossFit Madison

  25. Pingback: Thoracic Spine Mobility and Strength Day - Wine Country CrossFit

  26. Pingback: 140403 – Dot Com Fun One | CrossFit Regina

  27. Pingback: WOD 4-10-14 Thursday | CrossFit Synergistics

  28. Pingback: WOD 5/21/2014 | Loud House CrossFit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *