Our daily activities expose us to reduced thoracic spine mobility, and poor thoracic spine mobility affects the shoulders, neck, lower back, and hip muscles. Sedentary lifestyles such as prolonged sitting also influence thoracic spine stiffness, which results in the dysfunction of adjacent spinal muscles.
A stiff thoracic spine limits shoulder blade movement, which then impacts the mechanics and stability of the shoulder joints. Therefore, thoracic spine mobility workouts are fundamental and should not be passed over. These exercises minimize the risk of injury in your upper body muscles.
There are several variations of thoracic spine mobility workouts and drills that can be performed by almost everyone. Here are some examples of thoracic spine mobility that you can try out yourself.
Thoracic Spine Mobility Exercises Using Tennis Balls or The “Peanut”[GK1]
This aims to improve your thoracic spine extension. Here’s how you do it:
- Lie on your back with your hands across your chest. Your shoulder blades will be outside, hence providing enough space to place the peanut.
- Ensure that the peanut rests on both sides of the spine.
- Lift your shoulders a few inches from the ground then hold the position for about 2 seconds before returning to the original posture.
- Do two sets of 15 repetitions on each section of your mid-back.
This targets the mid-back muscles, and during movement, the peanut acts as a fulcrum on the spine.
Foam Roll Prayer Stretch
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This thoracic spine mobility exercise is similar to the classic yoga position known as the child’s pose. Begin by kneeling, then sit your hips back on your heels. Place your hands on the floor in front of you.
Gently slide your arms forward to let your chest drop down towards the floor. Hold the stretch for about 35 seconds before returning to the original position.
This particular stretch targets the back muscles and the side muscles, from the armpits to the waist.
Thoracic Spine Exercise Using a Chair
To do this, kneel on your knees in front of a chair, then place your elbows on the chair. Gently lean away from the chair to sink into your hips. While doing this, you should be looking up to stretch your neck.
A deep stretch will be felt in your upper back, triceps and shoulder blades. Moreover, ensure that you keep your butt close to the hips, and don’t arch your lower back.
Short-Seated Wall Reach
This exercise is simple and straightforward. To do this exercise, sit on the floor with your back against the wall. Bring your heels inwards towards the wall to make an angle of about 45 degrees.
Breath in, then gently pull your arms forward to reach your feet. For deep stretches, ensure that your back is attached to the wall.