Mobility in the mid & upper back is very important yet we tend to overlook this area. When the thoracic spine stiffens up, we tend to recruit more from the neck, shoulders & lower back to compensate. This can lead to things like neck pain, lower back pain, shoulder impingement, etc.
Today, I am going to show you two great mobility exercises for the t-spine. These exercises can be especially beneficial for desk jockeys, new mothers, overhead athletes, teenagers, drivers or anyone who experiences symptoms related to Upper Cross Syndrome.
Mobility exercise #1: Swiss Ball Extension → Place the middle to upper portion of your back on a swiss ball. Imagine you're melting your body to form around the swiss ball. Focus on extending through the mid back, allowing neck + hips to relax down. Arms should be at 90 degrees or above to add in a gentle front chest + pec stretch using gravity. This helps push our mid back into more extension as well by recruiting the shoulders. Hold for about 30 seconds and remember to breathe the entire time!
Mobility exercise #2: Open Book → Start by laying on your side w/ knees bent. Hips & shoulders should be stacked on top of one another. Place both arms out in front of you w/ your palms stacked. Take your top hand rotate it behind you opening up your chest. Hold for 3-5 seconds & return to the starting position. Do not let your hips rock back when you open up your chest. Its very important to keep them stacked so that the rotation happens in the thoracic spine & not the lower back. Do not let your shoulder hike up towards your ear either. Set the shoulder blade down & back before you move your arm.