Improving My Overhead Mobility in 14 Days with “Becoming a Supple Leopard” | NoobStrength

14-Day Overhead Mobility Routine from Kelly Starrett’s “Becoming a Supple Leopard”

Overhead mobility. You need it for pretty much any exercise that requires your arms overhead. Problem is, a lot of us kind of suck at it. Which is why I decided to try out a routine from Kelly Starrett’s Becoming a Supple Leopard book to improve my overhead mobility.

For those of you who are more visual, here is a video version of this post on my YouTube channel.

What’s up guys and gals? So in a previous article, I tried a Kelly Starrett routine for 14 days to improve my front rack position. Since it went well, I decided to do the same with my overhead position.

For those of you who don’t know, Kelly Starrett is the author of the book Becoming a Supple Leopard and the main man behind MobilityWOD.

So what’s so damn important about overhead mobility?

Its pretty simple, if you want to be able to carry things overhead, you’re gonna need a good overhead position.

It’s also important for every exercise that requires you to put your arms overhead. Examples include pull-ups, military presses, overhead squats and snatches. 

Trust me, you do not want to be that one guy who’s really buff, but can’t put your arms overhead. I actually know a guy like that. His girlfriend had to ask another guy to carry it for him because he couldn’t do it. I mean, that sounds like a pretty emasculating situation to be in and I wouldn’t want that to happen to me.

My overhead mobility position at the start

Here is what my overhead mobility position looked like at the start.

Its definitely above average I have to say.  But according to the Supple Leopard book, the ideal standard is that you want your ears to be visible. And mine are basically invisible to the human eye.

Here is what I did during the 14 days. I had two routines.

Lets call them A and B. I did them on alternate days. So A on Day 1, B on day 2 etc.

All of the exercises were pulled from the Becoming a Supple Leopard book.

Now, why did I do two different routines? Well according to Kelly Starrett himself and I quote, “some people respond better to certain mobilizations than others.”

Routine A

T-Spine Overhead Extension Smash - 4 minutes total.

T-Spine Overhead Extension Smash

Lay on a roller. Put your arms overhead. Find the gnarly spots and smash away.

Overhead Tissue Smash with the lacrosse ball - 2 minutes each side.

Overhead Tissue Smash with Lacrosse Ball

I focused on area directly behind my armpit area. Move around and find some tender spots.

Banded Overhead distraction - 2 minutes each side.

Banded Overhead Distraction

Hook your arm in the band. Externally rotate your arm. Sink your hips back and lower your torso to the ground.

Routine B

Overhead Rib Mobilization - 2 minutes each side.

Overhead Rib Mobilization

You’re basically laying on the lacrosse ball and moving your arm overhead and then back down again. You want to get this entire area so each day I tried to hit a slightly different part.

Overhead Tissue Smash with the Battlestar – 2 minutes each side

Overhead Tissue Smash with Battlestar

This time focusing on the lower part of my lats, the big muscle under your armpits that you use to pull stuff with. Find those tender spots.

Overhead Distraction with External Rotation bias - 2 minutes each side

Overhead Distraction with External Rotation Bias

Just like in the Front rack routine.

And that’s it!

After 2 weeks, here is what my overhead mobility position looked like! 

Overhead Position Before & After

Not a bad improvement for 14 days. I was actually worried there wouldn’t be much visible improvement considering that my overhead mobility wasn’t that bad to begin with. But I guess I was wrong. Looks like you can actually see my ears. It also feels a lot less tight.

So what have you done to improve your overhead mobility? Any mobilizations you like in particular? Let me know in the comments!

And as always, thank you for reading! Once again, no one is paying me to write this so if you enjoyed this article, share it with a friend, subscribe to the mailing list and follow me on social media using the links below!

I’m a National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) certified personal trainer and StrongFirst Bodyweight Instructor based in West Los Angeles and Santa Monica. I offer 1-on-1 personal training, group/couples training, and online fitness coaching!

If you’re interested in working with me or have any questions, feel free to reach out!