Brachiating for Overhead Shoulder Mobility

By Eric Wong

brachiating for overhead shoulder mobility

Everything that gets us back to nature, like the paleo diet or animal movements such as the brachiating technique I’ve got for you today is very popular these days.

I think whatever helps us get closer to nature is a step in the right direction.

However, I do think there are mis-interpretations of what actually constitutes paleo.

For example, paleo man definitely didn’t have as much variety in his diet. He ate what was around, depending on where he lived, the season and all of the other environmental factors at that time.

I can go buy and eat a banana here in Canada even if it’s -10° and snowing. Or Pacific salmon, even though I’m a 4.5 hour flight away from the Pacific ocean.

Poor paleo man didn’t have that luxury. Sucker.

Nor did he have control over when he could eat like we do now.

If food was available, he’d eat. If not, whether it was a day, week or month, too bad.

Sure, we’re learning more about fasting but IMO, more random fasts would be more beneficial to your metabolism as it’d avoid your metabolism getting lazy since it’d have to constantly adapt to changing conditions.

These are just a few of the things we don’t take as necessary components to call ourselves paleo, likely because they’re inconvenient and/or more uncomfortable than the paleo principles we do choose to subscribe to, if we follow the paleo diet.

But this is just an example of mis-interpretation or taking what we want and forgetting the rest.

I’m not picking on the paleo diet because like I said at the beginning, anything that gets us closer to nature and farther from KD for dinner and bear paws for dessert is good.

A movement that will get us closer to nature is brachiating, which is defined as “moving using the arms to swing from branch to branch”.

Here’s a VERY COOL video showing a monkey demonstrating what ELITE brachiating looks like:

You can do this on tree branches if you want, but I’m not that hardcore and don’t take pride in ripping my hands to shreds (neither does the monkey above) so I suggest you do this on bars at the gym or playground.



I have used your techniques for shoulder control and scapular stability for several months now, with great results. So I was excited to try this out.

I have to say, I felt improvements after just the first time using these exercises. And I plan to continue using these methods.


Michelle followed the Scap Control Program

Check out the Scap Control program here.

The most important thing to get right is to keep your ELBOWS STRAIGHT. If you don’t do this not only will the technique be more difficult and tiring, but you won’t be developing scapular strength and control, nor will you get as much length through the lats.

Go for time or just go until you feel like you’re losing your grip or ability to keep the elbows straight.

I also suggest you only do it if you can hang comfortably from a bar with one hand for at least 10 seconds. If not, work on normal two hand hanging until you can do 10 seconds with one arm.

Have fun!

About the Author

Eric is the founder of PrecisionMovement.coach and has a degree in Kinesiology from the University of Waterloo. He's been a coach since 2005 and spent many years focused on training combat athletes including multiple UFC fighters and professional boxers and now dedicates his energy to helping people eliminate pain and flexibility and movement restrictions. He lives in Toronto with his wife and daughter and he drinks black coffee and bitter IPAs. Click here to learn more about Eric.