Overhead Mobility Test with Coach Lisa DPT, PT

overhead mobility test

Overhead Mobility Test

Try this easy and important overhead mobility test to assess where you’re at right now and see what you need to fix. Overhead mobility is important to be able to safely support heavy weights extended overhead. Don’t settle for suboptimal shoulder mobility. Take the time to understand it, assess it, fix it, and then you can enjoy your training knowing you have the best foundation possible.

This drill will not only tell us a lot about our overhead mobility but it is one of the most effective ways to achieve a better position. Video yourself from the side like coach Lisa does while you do the test to watch your position and assess your mobility.

Take the Overhead Mobility Test

Here’s a quick overhead mobility test to see how consistently you move your arms into a fully extended position overhead.

  • Hinge at the hips
  • Put arms in a “Y” position
  • Attempt to lift overhead
  • Note how high your hands get
  • Then in standing, put your arms in a “Y” position
  • Hinge at the hips
  • Compare the height of your hands from the first time to the second time.

Typically, in the first test, you can’t get your hands as high. That’s because you’re not preparing your trunk to give your shoulder the ability to move through the full range of motion. It’s important to depress our shoulder blades and extend our upper back. You should be able to do that first (prepare your trunk), then hinge at the hips and get your hands just as high as when you start in standing.

Practice that so that every time, your trunk is in the same position.

Member Spotlight: Sensei Benny Shares Self Defense Tips

Sensei Benny shares self defense tips

In this Member Spotlight, we interview Sensei Benny Gonzalez and talk with her about her fitness journey. As a 4th degree black belt, Benny has a wealth of knowledge and shares some important self defense tips for men, women and children to keep in mind.

Meet Sensei Benny Gonzalez

Benny started karate 34 years ago after she was mugged in an elevator and felt helpless by the ordeal. She is currently a Sensei, which is 4th degree black belt, studying Josan Lu Karate under Shuseki Shihan Sana in Garwood, NJ.

In addition to teaching karate whenever possible, she also teaches self defense regularly.

I think it is important for everyone, especially women and children, to be more assertive in certain situations. My motto is “it is better to know it and not need it, then need it and not know it.”

Benny has been a member at Salus for a few years now and also attends with her husband and son as well. We think she’s pretty amazing!

I would love to add that Salus is the perfect complement to my karate. Since I started at Salus, my upper body and kicks are stronger. I also have more energy which is something I thought at my age would not happen. I am thankful for the opportunity to give something back to this wonderful community and would like to thank my inspirational teachers.

Self Defense Tips

  1. Be aware! Look over your surroundings.
  2. Keep distance between you and others.
  3. If in danger, BE LOUD! An assailant wants a quiet victim.
  4. Survey your surroundings and have an escape plan.
  5. Take a self-defense class more than once. Move the moves a habit.
  6. BONUS: Avoid distractions such as looking at your phone while walking or listening to music with headset on both ears.

Member Spotlight: Chelsea Talks Music and Athletics

member spotlight Chelsea

In this Salus member spotlight, we talk to Chelsea about what got her started at Salus, how her routine has changed while working out at home and how music and athletics go hand-in-hand.

Meet Chelsea

Time for a Change

In the past, Chelsea found herself feeling bored at different commercial gyms. She would go for a little bit, but  didn’t really know what to do, so it didn’t become a part of her routine. “The only thing I saw from the gym was just my payments every month.”

Earlier last September 2019, she decided to make a change for herself. “I felt like I was just I didn’t have a lot of energy to get through the day teaching and my after school obligations. I just felt lethargic.” So she decided to step outside of her comfort zone.

“I always thought [CrossFit] was a little bit intimidating but, I wanted to learn something new.”

When it comes to her lifestyle, Chelsea now makes working out more of a priority.  Weightlifting became a draw for her and she loved the feeling of learning something new every class.

She says that it’s the community that has allowed her to push herself to show up, even on days that are difficult. “My energy levels are definitely way more than they have been before. After a workout, I feel great!”

Music and Athletics

Chelsea has been playing the cello since she was nine years old and I find it interesting how she has made the connection between music and athletics. She shares that the discipline and consistency with just showing up to practice (even if it’s just a minimal skill), go hand-in-hand.

Her advice?

“It can be scary to start something new (at any age), but just have a positive mindset and take one day at a time.  Just as I tell my students:

Practice does not make perfect, it makes permanent.

How Much Should I Eat? Portions Explained


How Much Should I Eat? Portions Explained

Not sure how much to eat? Portions can be tricky. The best place to start is by using your hand.

Fit in a good balance of protein, veggies, smart carbs, healthy fats by using your hand(s) as your guide to build your plate for each meal.

Use Your Hand As a Guide


Females: 1 palm (~ 20-30g of protein)
Males: 2 palms (~ 40-60g of protein)


Females: 1 cupped hand (~ 20-30g of carbs)
Males: 2 cupped hands (~ 40-60g of carbs)


Females: 1 thumb (~ 7-12g of fats)
Males: 2 thumbs ( ~ 15-25g of fat)


Females: 1 fist
Males: 2 fists


Eating like this for 3-4 meals a day put you around 1,200-1,500 calories each day.
Active women do best with 4-6 servings of each food group per day (~1,500-2,100 kcal).


Eating like this for 3-4 meals a day would get you around 2,300-3,000 calories every day.
Active men respond best with 6-8 servings of each food group per day (~2,300-3,000 kcal).

⚙️ From there, customize by adjusting the number of portions to meet your unique needs and goals.

For example, you may need MORE food because you…

• Are larger in stature
• Are feeling light headed during your workouts
• Eat less frequently throughout the day
• Are very active
• Are trying to gain muscle
• Aren’t getting muscle-gain results

If that’s the case, add the following:
Men: 1 cupped handful of carbs and/or 1 thumb of fat to a few meals every day.
Women: 1/2 cupped handful of carbs and/or 1/2 thumb of fat to a few meals each day.

You may need need LESS food because you…

• Are smaller in stature
• Feel full after meals
• Eat more frequently throughout the day
• Are not very active
• Are trying to lose weight
• Aren’t getting weight-loss results

If that’s the case, remove the following:
Men: 1 cupped handful of carbs and/or 1 thumb of fat from a few meals each day.
Women: 1/2 cupped handful of carbs and/or 1/2 thumb of fat from a few meals each day.

As always, pay attention to hunger cues, emotions that drive decisions, hormones and stress. Then adjust as needed.

For Kids/Teens

One easy way to size up portions is to use your hand as a guide. Kids have smaller hands than adults, so it serves as a reminder that kids should eat smaller portions, but note: athletes may need more than the average child. The purpose is to teach a point of reference for kids. Think of it as a visual learning tool. Without it, they may not have an understanding of portion sizes and end up under or over eating.

As always, pay attention to hunger cues, energy, activity levels and stress. It’s normal for children to have appetites that vary when they’re growing. Adjust as needed. The point of this challenge it to help kids find a good balance of protein, veggies, smart carbs and healthy fats for optimal energy and to prevent deficiencies.

5-Minute Meditation with Gina

guided meditation gina

Starting a New Fitness Journey

As a Yogi, Gina was already active, but she craved more. She actually started CrossFit as a way to connect with her family’s conversation at the dinner table. But, soon found she discovered she was competitive and even loved lifting weights, too!

Her progress was motivating. New deadlift PRs, first-time handstand push-ups…the list goes on!

Shifting Her Mindset with Nutrition Coaching

Soon after joining Salus, Gina began working with Coach Angela on her nutrition and continued to make an amazing transformation. Coming from WW, which uses a point-based system for weight loss, she shifted her mindset to a behavior-change approach for healthy living.

Her view on what and how she was eating changed and that gave her a new-found freedom over food. Her mind and body both responded positively.

Meet Gina:

Gina brings an amazing energy everywhere she goes, especially as a Reiki Master. Find out what Reiki is all about and how Gina uses this mindset in her everyday life.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. According to Mindful.org, “While mindfulness is innate, it can be cultivated through proven techniques, particularly seated, walking, standing, and moving meditation (it’s also possible lying down but often leads to sleep); short pauses we insert into everyday life; and merging meditation practice with other activities, such as yoga or sports.”

Try This Guided Meditation with Gina, Reiki Master

In this guided meditation, Gina offers an opportunity to bring awareness to our breath, settle the mind, and dedicate a few minutes to self-care.

We are honored to have her lead us through a 5-minute guided meditation. Please join us:

Mobility: Why You Need to Do It

When you put effort into mobility for CrossFit, Olympic lifting, etc., you’ll start to notice serious improvements (ie: gains) in your training, more frequent PRs, smoother reps, and a faster recovery (preventing that dreaded DOMS).


Athletes who exercise regularly might find they feel held back in certain exercises because of limited range of motion (ROM). In fact, a limited mobility (and stability) will even hinder performance. If you want to boost performance in CrossFit, Olympic Lifting or other workouts, you have to fix any mobility restrictions.

Whether it’s tight hips holding you back in your squat, a tight upper back hindering your front squat, or the commonly tight shoulders limiting your overhead movements, by addressing mobility, you’ll not only be safer during exercise, but you’ll also be able to do each repetition faster, smoother and much more comfortably.

Mobility for CrossFit: Some Options to Start With

Soft Tissue Work

Self-myofascial release (SMFR) is one of the most common forms of soft tissue work.

You’ll recognize this by using tools such as:

  • foam rollers,
  • lacrosse balls,
  • massage sticks and
  • softballs.

This is can be performed before or after your training sessions.

Static Stretching

Static stretches are typically held for at least 30 seconds.


  • hamstring stretch,
  • couch stretch,
  • calf stretch
  • t-spine stretch over the foam roller.

While these are good to do briefly before your workout, post-workout is where you’ll see more of the benefits from static stretching.

Joint Mobilization

Joint mobilization typically involves bands to help provide distraction at a specific joint. The goal of joint mobilization is to help increase ROM of a joint capsule by breaking up adhesion and stretching space around the capsule itself.

What About R.I.C.E.?

Most of us are familiar with the protocol for treating sports injuries called R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). In fact, many of us have probably been told to “put some ice on it” at one time or another for as long as we can remember. And yet, close to forty years after its original publication, the doctor behind the R.I.C.E. recommendation retracted his advice:

“Almost forty years ago, I coined the term RICE as the treatment for acute sports injuries. Subsequent research shows that rest and ice can actually delay recovery. Mild movements help tissue to heal and the application of cold suppresses the immune responses that start and hasten recovery.” – Dr. Gabe Mirkin

Wait, what? Hold on…how can something so universally accepted and practiced be wrong? As health detective Chris Kresser points out, the history of science is a history of most people being wrong about most things most of the time.

Now we know much more about the role of inflammatory cells in healing than we did back in 1978. While still useful as a short-term treatment to decrease pain, it has been shown that ice does nothing to improve recovery and likely slows and actually delays the healing process.

So, now what? Where do we go from here?

Studies show that the best thing you can do to optimize recovery is to MOVE your body.

According to an article in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the goal is to find practical active recovery and loading methods that will not aggravate the tissue or cause any additional damage.

Ideally, activate the muscles surrounding the damaged tissue in order to achieve the largest amount of pain-free, low-stress, and non-fatiguing muscle activation. Mild, controlled movement in the affected area will generate a lymphatic flush and increase circulation, bringing nourishment in and waste out of the area.

Bottom line: If you want to speed up recovery, skip the ice and focus on controlled, low-stress, non-fatiguing muscle activation along with mobility as listed above.

Mobility – What’s Right for Your?

Not sure what to do, or when? Chat with one of our knowledgeable coaches for more information on how to supplement mobility for CrossFit or Olympic Lifting with your training; we’ll help you fix any position-problems that might be holding you back.

Toes to Bar Tips with Coach Gino

toes to bar tips

Toes to bar is a movement that can stop up a lot of athletes. It seems like a straightforward movement, but it can the the cause of a lot of frustration. The main faults we see is due to a lack of tension in the hang and engagement in the midline. Let’s take a look at a few toes to bar tips with Coach Gino to help improve your form for long term performance.

Consider the Shoulders and Midline 

First things first, it’s crucial to have an active hang. No zombie arms, please. How does this happen? Activate the lats and pull down on the bar to create space between the shoulders and the ears. This allows you to create tension throughout the entire body and prevent that uncontrollable swing (not to be confused with a strategic kip).

Secondly, draw in and engage your midline. Do this by pulling your ribs down toward the belly button, squeeze the legs together and point the toes. This, in addition to keeping your shoulders down, will minimize that notorious swing.

Quick Toes to Bar Tips

✔Always keep an active hang (avoid excessive extension)
✔Shoulders down & tight (avoid relaxed shoulders)
✔Keep space between ears & shoulders
✔Midline drawn in and engaged
✔Full grip on bar
✔Work in small sets at first

As always, prioritize quality vs quantity – if you need to do singles or smaller sets until you get your form down, that is better than holding on to the bar for large, sloppy sets.

Remember to be patient in the process and “keep it tight!”

Hip Mobility with Coach Lisa, DPT, PT

hip mobility drill

Squatting isn’t just about lifting the heaviest weights you can. Hip mobility is fundamental to achieving the perfect squat, and we asked Coach Lisa, DPT, PT, to help us.

Coach Lisa has a simple hip mobility drill athletes can do to help improve squat depth and hip mobility.

Hip Mobility Drill to Help Squat Depth

This hip mobility drill could be the difference between you and your next squat PR.

✔Use a box that’s the height of a normal chair you might have at your house.

✔Keep your foot flat, shin vertical.

✔Work on getting your hip as close to your heel as you can and get lower in your stretch.

✔You can push your knee out or turn away to target different areas of your hip.

✔Spend some time moving around these positions to find the tension.

✔And, if you’re already flexible, you can do it directly on the floor.

After you do it on both sides, check and see if the depth of your squat has improved.

“Three Feet From Gold” Insight From Coach Steven

One of the most common causes of failure is the habit of quitting when one is overtaken by temporary defeat. All of us are guilty of this mistake at one time or another.

3 Feet From Gold

Napoleon Hill, in Think and Grow Rich, referred to “3 feet from gold.” This analogy comes from a story during the gold rush of a young man who was mining for gold for months. Then he decided to quit. He sold all of his equipment to a “junk man” who sought counsel prior to start digging only to find out that gold would be found just 3 feet from where the previous miner had stopped.

He was right. The first miner was literally three feet away from striking gold before he quit.

Never Give Up

Of course there are many lessons to be learned from this story, but what we’re getting at is this: too many people decide to give up right before they get a chance to experience a breakthrough…because it gets TOO hard.

Our message to you all is to remind you to keep going, no matter what obstacles you face.

Most of the time, those last 3 feet will be the hardest, but remember – you may be closer to your goals than you can see right now.

The Importance of Mobility and Stretching

When it comes to living a balanced and healthy life, we often think of nutrition, exercise, hydration and sleep. In today’s fitness industry, it seems that the workout is what captures the most attention…but what about mobility and stretching?

As of now, most of us are quarantined. You’re probably noticing a lot of people posting workouts on social media to keep others motivated and MOVING! I love seeing how so many people around the world are coming together in this crisis and supporting each other on a daily basis.

We hear a lot about:

  • Eating nutrient dense foods
  • Working out (daily movement)
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Getting enough sleep, etc…

But, something seems to be missing: mobility.

Have you been stretching, foam rolling and doing your daily mobility work?

Being flexible and mobile is a VERY important piece to overall health and wellness and a lot of people know they should do it but… they push it off.


Aside from the typical hour long workout, many of us find ourselves sitting, laying down, watching TV, scrolling through social media or just doing home office work most of the day.

Some common obstacles we hear include:

  • It’s uncomfortable
  • I don’t know how to do it
  • It takes time
  • It’s boring…

What many people don’t realize is that mobility can have a direct impact on their performance, sleep and quality of life. A good stretching and mobility session will help to improve muscle function, increase power, improve performance and even help to prevent injuries.

And that’s why we want to prioritize this piece of the puzzle!

Let’s take a look at mobility and how to make it a regular part of your day.

How To Make Mobility and Stretching a Regular Part Of Your Day?

The best way to include flexibility and mobility practices like stretching and mobilization work in your lifestyle is to develop habits just like you would with working out.

Establishing a consistent routine is key.

Just start with a small amount of time. Too much too soon can lead to failure. Even ten minutes a day can lead to differences in the way your body feels. Work up from there as you build consistency and confidence.

How To Improve Flexibility and Mobility

When it comes to working on improving flexibility and mobility, there are multiple ways to go about it. Remember, if you aren’t doing anything at all (or very little) start with what you are most willing to stick to get started.

Keep it simple.

Start with what you can do, consistently. Then as you progress you can change things up and get more ideas from there.


Stretching is one of the most well-known athletic habits.

A gymnast, I should know that. haha!

But, most people don’t stretch consistently because it can be uncomfortable, sometimes painful or maybe they feel that it’s boring.

The truth is, it needs to become a priority if you’re looking to perform your best, feel your best, and reduce the risk of injury.

Two types of stretching to focus on are: active/dynamic and static stretching.

  • Active stretching is moving into a stretched position for 3-5 seconds at a time for about 5-10 times. It’s usually best to do before exercise or cardio (ex:running), because it helps to loosen up tight muscles and improve body mechanics.
  • Static stretching is often used more for lengthening tight muscles. This is typically done by holding a stretch for 20-30 seconds on an average (60 seconds if needed) and doing so 3-5 times. Static stretching can restrict some neural control to muscle fibers, so it’s best to be done after exercise, first thing in the morning, or as you unwind before bed.

Remember, it takes a little time for various tissues to lengthen safely so make sure you are doing it safely and go easy on it. Also, do not hold your breath as you stretch … I struggled with that for a long time. Controlling your breath will help you go into a deeper stretch.

On days you’re not working out, pick a time of the day when it would be most convenient, like before bed.

Again, again consistency is key.

Foam Rolling

Foam rolling, as known as self-myofascial release can also be performed using a lacrosse ball, softball, or even your own hands.

Most of us have various trigger points or “knots,” that form in our muscles. This is especially true of an athlete who performs repetitive movements. You might even notice you get knots in your traps and upper back from being hunched over a keyboard at work all day.

Foam rolling involves massaging these pain points to gently loosen up the muscles, and bring them back into a relaxed state.

Benefits of foam rolling

Foam rolling, when done properly, can help to clear out some pain and help muscles return to normal function.

Basically, if you tend to have tight muscles or can’t move with your same flexibility after working out, this recovery routine is a great fit for you.

I know for me, it can make me feel better almost immediately after a tough training session.

It may feel uncomfortable at first but the more you do it the pain will start going away and doing it consistently will help your body feel better, can result in faster recovery and really improve your mobility!

How much pressure do I use?

To start, make sure to apply moderate pressure to a specific muscle using the roller and your body weight.

Roll slowly across the muscle group. As you locate painful or tight areas, stop the roller and pause for a few seconds… and remember to breathe!

Then, continue along the rest of your body or muscle you’re working on.

If you have a muscle group that is too tight or painful to directly press down on, you can always shift the roller around and put pressure on the surrounding area instead.

When should I use a foam roller?

You can use a foam roller just about anytime. Some people will use it before their workout to help improve mobility and full range of motion! Some will use it after a workout as part of their cool down to help reduce soreness. You can also use it in the morning, it will help release the muscle from a night of sleep.

For me, I have been doing 10-15 minutes of mobility and flexibility work every day before and after my training session.

Starting a Mobility Routine

Stretching is by far the easiest to get started with as it doesn’t require any equipment.
Just keep in mind, consistency is key here.

Figuring out when and how to add these into your lifestyle is up to you. Like I said above, for me, I’ve started with doing 10 minutes, it turned into a habit … and now have it part of my active lifestyle!

But if that doesn’t work for you, or another time is better because you will do it more consistently, then do that!