The thoracic spine forms part of the axial skeleton, and is made up of thoracic vertebrae, the ribs, sternum and manubrium.
Having adequate range of motion (ROM) in the thoracic spine is essential for healthy athletic movement. More specifically, the thoracic spine needs to extend, and rotate.
Stiffness, or lack of ROM in these movements puts extra stress on other joints and areas of the body such as the shoulder and lower back, leading to injury.
Here are 3 easy ways to improve your thoracic mobility:
1. Lacrosse Balls
Using your SMAI lacrosse ball, place the ball between your shoulder blades with your spine in the middle of the balls. Cradle your head with your arms and bring your elbows together. Curl your chin to chest and repeat 5 times. Then move the backballs up a bit and repeat from the base of your shoulder blades to the base of your neck.
2. LAT/shoulder release foam roller
Using your foam roller, lie on your side with your arm extended by your ear. Roll up and down focusing on the soft tissue under and behind your armpit. Do a few minutes on each side.
3. BOw & Arrow stretch
Lying on your side with your hip bent, reach your top arm forward, then sweep that arm across your body, rotating your spine. Hold for a few seconds, and repeat 10 times on each side.
There are 3 quick and easy ways to improve your thoracic mobility, so hopefully you can move better and reduce the chance of injury!