If you’re like me throughout the day, you’re sitting on the computer or just sitting around, and you might notice your thoracic spine really stiffens up. That’s an area where I really struggle, and i’m constantly having to get out and move around because that’s where I really start to feel that stiffness in that area of my spine. The thoracic is from the waist to the bottom of the neck. This video is a really great thoracic mobilization exercise you can use with the foam roller.
You’re just going to sit back and place the foam roller under the mat (it helps it keep in place). You’re going to come down onto the foam roller (so somewhere around the back of the ribs or very bottom of the shoulder blades) and make contact. You’re going to interlace your fingers and support your head and neck right at the base of the head or base of the top neck.
Your head will be heavy in the hands, and you’ll push the head into the hands. It helps to imagine you have an invisible orange or lemon between your chin and chest and you want to keep it there – do not lift and lower the chin. That’s what a lot of people do, and when they do that they aren’t getting anything as far as mobilizing that thoracic spine. Remember to keep that invisible orange there and then inhale. You should feel that great mobilization every time. When I do this the first time I hear at least like six cracks and it’s glorious and it feels wonderful!
We’re just getting that thoracic spine an opportunity to open up a little bit because again we tend to be very hunched forward. Most of you know, especially if you work at a computer where you’re bent over all the time, you need opportunities to open up and mobilize that thoracic spine!
We can make this an abdominal exercise as well! I like to have people extend their legs out so they don’t go into that pelvic tuck. Keep your head heavy in the hands and as you exhale, you’re going to think about gliding the ribs down to meet the hips. As you come up, push the head into the hands so we don’t go into that forward head position. Glide the ribs down finding that nice contraction of the abdominals scooping up and in with the lower bellies, and as we draw down with the ribs we inhale to find that lovely thoracic extension. Use the abdominal scoop up as you exhale and as we come up inhale back and again. Remember that we’re doing our best to keep that invisible orange between the chin and chest. And that’s it! This is a great way to focus on mobilizing the spine, but also get a little extra abdominal work in there as well