2 great ways to challenge the thoracic spine

One of the most common issues we deal with in our office are the ramifications of sitting in a desk chair 50 plus hours a week. More specifically, the rounded upper back that can develop from being hunched over a computer. Over time, as the pec muscles get tighter and the posture gets more rounded, stability can be compromised in the shoulders resulting in decreased range of motion in that joint and reduced mobility in the thoracic spine.

Today I’m sharing two of my favorite and most challenging exercises aimed at combating these tough postural issues!

Downward Dog from the Elbows:

  • This is essentially downward facing dog, just modified from the elbows.
  • The key here is to have the elbows and hands he same distance apart. It’s really easy to let the hands get closer to each other but a big part of engaging the upper back is keeping that distance!
  • Reach the hips for the sky, and the heels for the ground.
  • Let the neck relax and take deep breaths.
  • Hold for 5 breaths, release and then reset

Next up is a deep squat overhead challenge…..

Deep Squat Press:

  • Before you do anything, make sure you can comfortably deep squat. If that is an issue, do not pass go, do not collect $200!
  • I like being in more of a sumo squat position for this with a little wider stance and the feet turning out slightly.
  • Make sure to start with a light weight and then progress up from there.
  • Once at the bottom of the squat, press your weight up aiming to get the arm in line with the spine and the palm facing forward.
  • Your rib cage needs to be anchored down verses flaring upwards.
  • Your mid back will be on fire!
  • Start with 5 Reps one side, return to standing and then lower back down to repeat on the other side.

After doing both of these exercises, I like to return to a few thoracic mobility exercises such as the open book to reinforce my new found movement and stability.

Happy moving friends!


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