We all struggle with not being as flexible as we wish to be, but there’s a point when not being mobile enough can cause your body actual harm. Shoulder pain is something so many people struggle with and this is mainly due to poor posture and shoulder mechanics that keep the scapula in line. What many may not know is how important the thoracic spine or t-spine is in keeping the body moving correctly in various different movements.
How to Achieve Mobility
Mobility in the t-spine is achieved by putting in some serious work in and forcing your soft tissue to loosen up and allow the scapula to sit properly. Located right off the spine itself on either side, this soft tissue runs from the upper back all the way down underneath side of the shoulder blades. Foam rolling is one of the best ways to loosen up the tissue itself from the poor mechanics up into this point. Place a foam roller under the middle part of the back with the hips on the ground. Cross your arms and raise your hips to the desired pressure- the more pressure the more mobility achieved. Roll up and down as well as side to side to lengthen and the tissues to improve mobility.
Another way to improve overall mobility through the thoracic spine is to stretch and contract the muscles that surround this area. Performing kneeling bridges is a great way to fully stretch the back as well as contract these muscles. Overhead stretches to lengthen the lats as well as doorway stretches to stretch the pecs are great additions to add to your routine.
How Thoracic Mobility Helps Training
The main purpose of achieving t-spine mobility is to allow for better function of the scapula and shoulder blades. Movements like the overhead press will be able to be performed to perfection when the thoracic spine is freed up and the shoulder can glide smoothly along the plane provided. With the t-spine tight and out of place, this forces your movements in the gym to suffer because you simply cannot move correctly. The deadlift is another great exercise that will be allowed to be performed to it’s maximum potential. With it being one of the best “form-correcting” movements you can do, make it perfect with allowing the scapula to be contracted correctly through the t-spine being free and mobile. It will also allow the lats, traps and rhomboids to contract better and more easily.
Sometimes mobility is overlooked and underworked and thus, injury happens. Take the time to take care of your body and realize that this will help you tremendously in the long run. Keep your thoracic spine moving and mobile and keep your body progressing for years to come.