Pass Through

written by
Joel Runyon
last updated
October 18, 2021

Whether engaging in sports, attending a yoga class, hitting the gym, or just living your day to day life, mobility is key to your performance and overall well-being. This is exactly why we created the Movewell App, of course. We want to be your biggest resource in reaching your goals whether that be to hit a new personal record in the gym or move throughout your life pain-free.

Joints and muscles that are tight and have a limited range of movement will limit your gains and quality of life. Even worse, immobile joints can cause other parts of your body to overcompensate, leading to injury down the road. This is exactly what we want to avoid. Life's too short to put up with nagging injuries all of the time. Luckily, we can take a proactive approach and implement daily stretching into our routine. 

Therefore, it’s important to engage in the correct warm-up movements to prevent this from happening. Particularly for movements like overhead pressing, carrying heavy objects over our heads, or swinging a baseball bat, adequate shoulder mobility is a must. 

This is where the Pass Through Stretch comes into play. All you need is a mirror and most importantly, a straight length of PVC pipe, broom handle, or a wooden dowel. Though it might look visually awkward at first, by performing this stretch over time you should start to notice real improvements in your shoulder flexibility and range of motion. It will improve your ability to perform any pressing exercise as well as release any tightness in this area of your body.

What is the Pass Through Stretch? 

The pass through stretch will help loosen up your shoulders and all the surrounding musculature. We love this stretch because it is almost guaranteed that you have something at home you can use to perform this movement. Whether it is a PVC pipe, a broom stick, a wooden dowel, a resistance band, or even a bath towel - no matter what it is, you can use it to receive the same stimulus and bring relief to tight upper body muscles. 

Hold your chosen piece of equipment out in front of you with both hands gripping it on either end. Your arms should be fully extended at waist-height and your arms should form a Y shape. Stand straight with proper posture - pulling your shoulder blades back and down and engaging your core muscles. 

Keeping straight arms, raise the pipe up towards the ceiling and then over your head. With your shoulders functioning as an axis, continue the motion out and behind your back until the pipe or handle is now fully behind you. Go as far behind you as feels comfortable, all while not letting go with your hands. If you’re flexible enough, you might be able to touch your lower back with the pipe. Be sure that you are engaging your core and glutes as you bring the pipe behind you. Don’t sacrifice your form to reach the pipe all the way back. 

Now, bring the pipe up and back around to the front of your body exactly the way you came. This is one repetition. We recommend doing a set of five to ten repetitions to properly warm up your shoulders and arms. 

Benefits of the Pass Through

The PVC pipe pass through is commonly used as a warm up for the upper body - specifically the shoulders and arms. If you know that you’re going to be doing a workout that will require a lot of upper body usage, this is a beneficial warm up exercise to incorporate into your routine to increase blood flow to the area and ensure that your muscles are primed and ready to go. 

The pass through will help increase joint mobility, improve joint function, and prevent any injuries. The great thing about the pass through is that it not only helps with shoulder-specific joint mobility, but it also targets the surrounding muscles as well. 

Pass Through Modifications

The full range of motion for the pass through has the PVC pipe moving from the front of the body to the back of the body all while keeping the arms long and extended. But this movement pattern may not be accessible for everyone depending on your current ability level. 

If you cannot bring the pipe all the way behind you to make contact with the back part of your body, do not worry. Instead of forcing yourself into this position and potentially causing an injury, only go to the limit of your own range of motion. Maybe this means you only get halfway down behind your body. Never push into a point of pain. Find the limit of your own range of motion and then breathe deeply into this position. 

Consistently perform this stretch to increase your joint mobility and range of motion. You may be surprised to find that before long you can bring the PVC pipe all the way behind your body and back with ease!


How to peform Pass Through

pass through movement demo using pole

Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and your neck and spine erect.

Find a long length of PVC pipe- one that is long enough for both your hands to grab at either end comfortably.

Hold the pipe out in front of you at your waist with your palms facing in towards your body and your hands extended outwards at a Y position.

Slowly raise the pipe out in front of you and then proceed to raise it above your head.

With your shoulders functioning as an axis, continue the motion out and behind your back until the pipe or handle is now fully behind you. Go as far behind you as feels comfortable, all while not letting go with your hands. If you’re flexible enough, you might be able to touch your lower back with the pipe.

Bring the pipe up and back around to the front of your body.

Pass Through video demonstration

written by
Joel Runyon

Joel is the founder of IMPOSSIBLE and the founder of MoveWell. Joel founded MoveWell after sustaining an injury while running an ultra marathon on every continent. Joel is writes about mobility, pain management and health and wellness overall.

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