Most of us spend our days sitting at a desk, hunched over. Our phones or slumped in front of the television. At some point, we might notice that our posture has deteriorated, or even worse, we might not even notice. Pain in the shoulders, back, hips, and neck can all be traced back to poor static posture. The thoracic spine consists of the 12 ribs and the spinal column between T1 and T12.
The Thoracic Spine
Stiffness here prevents us from fully extending our chests and raising our arms overhead. When motion is limited here, the body may go around the problem by making adjustments elsewhere, usually higher or lower on the body.
The mobility of the thoracic spine should be prioritized for various reasons, including but not limited to better function, less pain, and enhanced athletic performance.
Because most people primarily concentrate on the front of their bodies, thoracic spine mobilization is often overlooked. Mobilization of the thoracic spine is useful for everyone, even though it is not the only cause of movement dysfunctions and pain in all cases.
So Why Is It Crucial To Have A Flexible Chest Wall?
When you include thoracic mobility drills in your warm-up, you can often avoid shoulder soreness and fix problems with your overhead position. When the thoracic spine is fully extended, the scapula can rest in its anatomically right location and perform as intended.
The word “kyphosis” should be brought up first to understand what the thoracic movement means. The inward rounding of the upper back is medically referred to as kyphosis. Roll your shoulders forward and hunch your upper back; that’s the finest position to think in.
Even while a mild kyphotic curve in the upper back is considered normal, a more pronounced curve will result in an anterior tilt of the scapula. This results in diminished sub-acromial space.
As a result, the bicep tendon can become impinged, and the shoulder’s range of motion can be severely limited. Not only will this be uncomfortable, but it also makes lifting objects dangerous. Some 13-15 degrees of thoracic extension is needed to achieve full shoulder flexion, according to two of the most well-known authorities in the field, Eric Cressy and Mike Reinold. Whether this variation is measurable or unique to each person is a topic of heated discussion.
How Can You Increase Your Ability To Move Your Chest?
Adjusting one’s posture is a process that requires patience and perseverance. We suggest seeing a local therapist for soft tissue work and mobility exercises. Mainly, you’ll work on your anterior deltoids, lats, teres major, and pec minor. If you suffer from a finite range of motion in your upper back and shoulders, try doing thoracic mobility exercises daily. Several tried-and-true workouts for enhancing thoracic extension and rotation are provided below.
1. Roller And Bar Thoracic Extension
To strengthen the ability to extend the chest, do this exercise. An initial step is to place a bar and roller on the ground. Roll the roller along your mid back, then raise your arms to hold the bar above your head.
This exercise requires one of two possible hand placements. You may target your lats and teres major muscles with greater intensity by placing your hands close together. Another option is to spread the hands apart, emphasizing pec stretching. This is one of the most common Thoracic Mobility Exercises
It would help if you breathed regularly throughout this exercise. Take deep breaths in and out to ease into the stretch. Hold for at least 90 seconds per set.
2. The Cat-Camel Drill
Thoracic Mobility Exercises also includes Flexion and extension of the thoracic spine can be strengthened with this exercise.
Moving from a fully contracted position when in the quadruped position to a fully extended position should be done carefully and deliberately. While performing this action, breathe in as you lengthen and out as you flex. We suggest beginning with 10–12 reps per set for many sets.
3. Third, Perform A Deep Squat And Thoracic Rotation
The overhead squat requires more advanced training, namely the deep squat with thoracic rotation. You can do this exercise without resistance for reps or use a light dumbbell (anywhere from 2 to 3 kilograms) and hold it for a few seconds. The aim is to maintain a deep squat stance in the hips while extending the other arm overhead. Do three sets of eight on each side to get started.
4. Spider-Man 4: Thoracic Rotation
Excellent for hip mobility and thoracic rotation, spiderman is a fantastic all-around exercise. Get into a push-up position to initiate the exercise. Bring one leg outside your hand as an initial step. The hip flexors of the rear leg and the adductors of the front leg should both feel a stretch in this position. The second action is a hand reaching toward the ceiling, emphasizing a rotation through the chest. Remain in the apex position for three to five seconds, then switch sides.6-8 reps on each side for a few sets is a good place to start.
5. Thoracic Gyroscope That Leans To One Side
As a fantastic thoracic extension and rotation exercise, the side-lying windmill is a must-have in any fitness enthusiast’s routine. Begin by placing your knee on a foam roller while lying on your side with your hip flexed to a 90-degree angle. Make an effort to reach the floor on the opposite side of your body by gliding your upper hand around your head.We propose a beginning range of 6-8 reps per side throughout numerous sets.
6. Weight Training with A Kettlebell Arm Bar
A kettlebell is a fantastic tool for training, but it can do even more for your thoracic spine mobility and strength. To begin, lie face up and raise the kettlebell straight above your head with one arm.
To switch sides, you should bend the leg next to the arm holding the kettlebell and push yourself over. Lower the shoulder of the arm, anchoring the kettlebell to the floor behind you. Keep your upper leg tight and flat. Hold in a constrained range before returning to the original location. Exhaling as you raise your shoulder can help increase the range of motion in your shoulder and the flexibility of your chest.
7. Thoracic Mobility Exercises- Takeaways
Even though it’s important for overhead lifting and mobility, the thoracic spine is one of the areas where my fitness athletes have the most trouble moving. Here are some of my favorite exercises to increase upper back mobility.