Stand up and lift your arms straight overhead. Now freeze. Did any of the following 3 things happen?

1. Your lower back arches.

2. Your elbows bend.

3. Your shoulders roll forward.

If you answered yes to any of them, then you have limited mobility in your shoulders. 

Why that matters: When your shoulders are tight, you can’t get full range of motion during overhead exercises like military press, push press, pullup, and overhead squat.

Related: The 10 Secrets to the Perfect Pullup

In order to perform the movement, other body parts have to compensate for your shoulders–and usually it’s your lower back taking the brunt of the load. Do this often enough, and your gains will not only suffer, but you’ll put yourself at high risk of disc bulges and back pain. 

(For more awesome fit tips sponsored by EAS, check out Next Top Trainer, a Men’s Health competition to find the country’s best fitness coach.)

Loosen your shoulders the quick-and-easy mobilization drill shown in the video above. Do it before any overhead exercise. Hold the position for 5 to 10 deep breaths. 

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