Upper Body Mobility – SUP Tip: SIC Talk Story


Global Athlete Seychelle hosts SUP Tips on #sictalkstory talking about “Upper Body Mobility” Seychelle hosts these Talk Stories LIVE on SIC Maui’s Women of Watersports Facebook Page.



Hi! Welcome to SIC Maui Talk Stories. I’m Seychelle and we’re going to be doing some upper body mobility moves and stretches. 

What You Need:

  1. A yoga mat
  2. A foam roller or yoga blocks or a pillow or a big towel rolled up
  3. A doorway

We’re going to start lying down on your back and knees bent, and just do a couple nice deep breaths. You’re going to feel the ribcage and the pelvis lift off the mat, and then back down, pressing the whole back flat onto the mat, and then arching the back, lifting up, taking some breaths, and really focusing on that pressing down, grounding down into the mat on the exhale and reach your arms down by your sides.

Main Set

  1. Shoulder Slides

We’re going to inhale, and you’re going to find a neutral spine. You’re not gonna be in that arch position, but you’re also not going to be pressing the back flat. It’s gonna be right in between those two. When you find that right in between, you’re going to reach the arms up overhead and try to keep the ribcage in that position. So notice if as you reach the arms up overhead, if the ribcage starts to flare and the back wants to arch and come up, you’re going to try to keep that neutral position with the ribcage drawing down. As you reach the arms overhead, thumbs down. Just take a nice big reach and lengthen, lengthen, lengthen the sides of the body. Couple deep breaths here. We’re going to drag the thumbs down. Along the body, trying to keep the thumbs down. Keep the ribcage down and we’re going to reach up overhead. We’re going to drag the thumbs. So this is going to automatically, naturally, externally rotate in your shoulder. Just doing some nice reaches up, thumbs down. You can do both sides. Let’s do a couple more. In the shoulders. Nice, soft, relaxed. In the elbows, in the wrists.  Now we’re going to reach up and over, and you’re just going to place the back of the hands flat down onto the ground and you’re going to pull the elbows down. You’re going to try to, as you draw the elbows down towards the hips, keep the backs of the hands pressing down / keep the backs of the hands sliding along the floor. Just go as far as you can with the backs of the hands down. You’ll notice even more of an external rotation in the shoulders. We’re going to reach back up. Keep the ribcage down as you reach up. Keep the back of the hands down as you reach the elbows down. So inhale, reach up. Exhale, draw it down. We’re going to keep doing these floor shoulder floor slides. You don’t need to reach so that your hands are touching. The hands can stay comfortable shoulder width apart. You want to also make sure that when you reach up, the shoulder isn’t jacking up towards the ear. As you reach up, the shoulders stay pulling back. Drawing down away from the ears. So a couple more slides here.

  1. Knee Over Shoulder Slides

Now, you’re going to take one knee over. So one leg goes straight, the other knee goes over and we’re going to circle the same knee that’s bent and over, up overhead and you’re going to draw that shoulder blade down. You’re going to try and drag your thumb along the ground. If it feels good, that opposite hand can come and help that knee down and we’re gonna make a few really big circles here. So this is for thoracic mobility. Rotational mobility, this is really big for paddlers. This is a nice gentle way to do that. If you cannot drag your thumb along the ground, you know you might need to work on your thoracic mobility. If you have a block, or a bolster and you want a little bit of extra underneath that opposite knee, that’ll help reduce a little bit of the twist and make it a little bit easier for you. So after you’ve done eight on this side, dragging the thumb, let’s go ahead and bend both knees.

  1. Thoracic Rotational Stability

Now the knees are together, the elbows are together, and we’re going to just bring one elbow across and open. As you take a deep inhale and then we’re going to bring those elbows together and close as you exhale and inhale, open, you’re trying to draw the elbow and the back of the hand down and exhale, close and move with your breath. The breath is really important because you want to think about lengthening and expanding. Lengthening through the torso, expanding through the ribcage because as you expand and as you create more space with your breath in your torso, in your ribcage, that’s what’s gonna help open you up and actually find more range of motion in this thoracic rotational mobility. So a couple more. We’re gonna bring both knees back to centre. We’re gonna straighten the other leg, and we’re just going to do the other side. So, coming up and across and making those big arm circles. Thumbs down dragging your thumb drawing the shoulder blade. Naturally opening as you make that nice big slow gentle circle. Nice deep breath. We’re going to bring the knees together and again, if you need some extra something underneath one or both knees, that’s fine too. Elbows together, and we’re going to open. You want to look towards the elbow that’s opening, that’ll help too. Exhale to close. Nice deep breaths. Opening up space in the ribcage, in the diaphragm, in the torso, lengthening, and maybe every time you take a deep breath, or maybe every time you go back and forth, you’re able to find a little bit more, and a little bit more space. But don’t force it. Gentle. As deep as you can open with each breath is how deep you want to go. Not forcing the movement here. Couple more.

  1. Repeat Shoulder Slides

So we’re going to go back onto our backs and, knees are still bent and we’re going to do a couple more of those floor angels, but we’re going to add to it. So reach arms up overhead. Shoulders down, backs of the hands down, elbows down. You’re going to draw the elbows down. You’re gonna stop at 90 degrees. You’re going to rotate internally so the palms go face down and then you’re gonna try to slide the palms up underneath you and then come back out, up. Reach overhead, ribcage stays down. Nice long reach. Exhale, halfway. Palms down. So that’s it and you’re going to try to slide your hands, and you can push your back up a little bit here too, so that if you’re able to, slide your hands up underneath your body.  90, 90, and exhale up, and inhale down, up underneath you, 90, 90, exhale up, and that exhale is going to help you pull the ribcage down as you reach the arms up overhead, 90, 90, 90, 90, 90, 90, 90, 90, 90, 90, 90, 90, 90, 90, 90, 90, 90, 90, 90, 90, 90, 90, 90, and here, as you slide the hand underneath you, if you’re able to, can you lift the elbows up. That’s a pretty big rotation for the internal rotation for the shoulders. Let’s do two more of these. Try not to let the shoulders come up towards the ears. Last one.

  1. Cat & Cow 

Lift the elbows up. Cool. Alright. So now, let’s roll on to cat and cow position, that’s hands and knees for cat and cow. So place your hands underneath your shoulders, knees underneath your hips, spread your fingertips out wide, and let’s just do a few cat cows. So you’re gonna arch this back, you’re gonna push the tailbone up, let the belly button drop down. You’re going to let the chest drop down, you’re going to pull the back of the head up, you’re going to look up, you’re going to arch, you’re going to drop the chin all the way to the chest, and then you’re going to press the floor away from you, pull the belly in and up, curl the tailbone under, and then start from the tailbone, the mid back, the upper back, the shoulders, and then pull the back of the head up. Put it back let the chin drop down. So we’re really trying to work from one vertebrae at a time. Through the neck, through the upper back, through the middle of the back, all the way down to the lower back and the tailbone, and then opposite tailbone, lower back, middle back, drop the belly, drop the chest, upper back, and back. Let’s do two more.

  1. Puppy Dog Pose

So we’re gonna come into a puppy dog pose. You’re gonna stay right here on hands and knees and you’re going to keep the hips right above the knees as you walk the hands out away from you. The chest comes down towards the ground so if you’re really tight in the chest and the shoulders, having that block, that roller, that pillow underneath your chest could feel good. It could feel good underneath your forehead so you’re just up a little higher. If you’re able to, just walk to where you’re comfortable. Keep pressing the hips up and back. Pressing the tailbone up and back. You can rest the forehead down on something. Whether it’s the ground, whether it’s a block, whether it’s a towel, whether it’s a pillow. Rest the forehead down on something. Keep dropping every time you exhale the chest a little bit closer to the ground and if you’re super flexible and now you feel like your your nose is getting in the way, go ahead and let the chin come down towards the ground and look forward. Most people are not this open, most, most paddlers in my experience are not open enough to get the chin down. And again, this is to where you’re comfortable and you’re still breathing nice and deeply and you’re using the breath to open you up, opening the chest, letting the chest sink down. One more nice deep breath in. Long breath out. Walk the hands slowly and gently back underneath you. Stop when they are about six inches further forward than they would be for your cat cow. So they’re, they’re forward of the shoulder blades. We’re going to curl the toes under, press the hips back, and press up into a downward facing dog.

  1. Downward Facing Dog

So feet are hip to shoulder width apart, and I have a nice bend in my knees, so that I can maintain that same chest dropping towards the ground that I was just trying to make happen in my puppy dog pose. That same thing’s happening here, that I’m lengthening the tailbone up and away from me, and I’m letting the chest fall down. Once I’m here, now I’m going to try to pedal the feet one at a time but again, we’re working on the upper body today. So if your legs and the backs of the legs don’t go straight and you keep a bend in your knees, that’s okay. I’d rather you focus on this nice opening in the chest and the shoulders. Let the neck relax. Maybe you want to gently shake the head from side to side. So that that’s all relaxed. Maybe you want to think about that external rotation. So think about the elbows drawing down towards the ground and creating more space in between the neck, the upper top, the shoulders, as the shoulders pull down and away from the ears. So, from here, let’s go ahead and bend the knees, walk the feet, tippy toe towards the hands, and we’re going to roll up one vertebrae at a time to standing. 

  1. Doorway Stretch

Alright, so from here, this is where you’re going to go to your doorway. We’re going to do a tricep stretch. So, you’re going to bring one elbow up, the back of the hand goes to the back of the shoulder blade. Little baby lunge here. Elbow goes into the doorway and you’re going to gently press the elbow up and as the elbow goes up, the hand slides down the back a little bit. Just gently lean in and breathe. Five deep breaths. And now you’re just going to grab the side of that doorway and you’re going to press that same side hip back and out so that we’re stretching now the lat all along that side, from hip all the way up into the armpit, all the way down through the tricep still, all the way down to the wrist. We’re getting a nice stretch primarily in the lat. So good. Come up, let’s do the other side. So, hand behind the back, elbow gently goes up into the doorway. I’m going to take a little bit of a lunge stance with my elbow to the doorway side, leg forward. And I’m just going to lean into that. Let the hand gently slide down my back. Let the elbow gently come back behind the ear, behind the shoulder. The shoulder and neck are relaxed. A relaxed, nice, deep breath. We come up, grabbing the hand around the edge of the doorway, leaning that same side. Hip, back, and out. So I feel a nice stretch along the lat on that side, along that full side of the body, maybe along that full side of the arm. Maybe it feels good to even relax the head and neck down, look underneath that arm. Breathe, lengthen, open, soften.

  1. Laying Down Bolster Stretch

And transition back down onto the mat and definitely grab your foam roller, your blocks, your bolster, whatever it is that you have. What we are going to do now is place that between and behind your shoulder blades and you’re going to lay down on top of it. I’m going to lay down with my foam roller so that my back of my head is supported and the foam roller is between my shoulder blades. You can keep the knees bent, you can let them out straight, you can have them out wide, whatever feels comfortable for you, but this is really actually about the chest. So, as you’re laying over top of a bolster, a rolled up towel, the blocks, or a roller, think about the chest and the shoulders really being heavy and opening up so you should feel a nice stretch along the pecs and the elbows. The palms are face up, the elbows are down. This is relaxed. You can be down here, you can be in the middle. The higher you go, the more you’ll feel the stretch in the pecs. But I don’t want you to go up to where your elbows are coming up off the ground. Stay where the elbows are staying nice and comfortably down on the ground, where the shoulders are staying nice and comfortably down and relaxed. The face relaxed, the jaw relaxed, the neck relaxed. Deep breaths and just let gravity do the work here. Just let gravity open across the whole front of your chest. Soft. Stay here as long as you like. You can stay here for up to 10 minutes. Feeling really comfortable and relaxing. Great counter pose for paddlers. When you are ready to come up, you’re going to just go onto one leg and you can either stay on one side for a few minutes, but you’re definitely going to want to use your hands to push you back up nice and slowly. You can even move your prop and just lay back flat down on the ground for a few minutes after you finish too. So, that’s what I got for you today. I hope that this was the most enjoyable upper body mobility session for you. I am keen, as always, to hear your comments, questions, feedback. Reach out to me about anything. Doesn’t have to be mobility @Seychellesup on Facebook and Instagram. So if you’re not on my mailing list. You might want to jump on there. My website is, mailing list is on the footer of the page and join that and you’ll get notified. Have a beautiful rest of your day. Bye everybody! And thanks, SIC, for having us here and for hosting!