Thoracic Mobility Exercises

Have you got a stiff upper back or neck at the moment? Try these stretches:

Child’s Pose Stretch (+/- foam roller)

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Start in kneeling position with knees apart and feet together. Sit on your heels and place the palms of your hands on the mat/ roller. Slowly slide/roll your hands forward, lowering your chest towards the floor.
Hold and breathe for 5-20 seconds. Repeat up to 3x.

Thread Needle (+/- foam roller)

Start on your hands and knees with the foam roller parallel to your body.
Feed one hand (palm upwards) underneath the opposite arm resting it on either the floor or the foam roller.
Slide/roll your hand further away from your body to enhance the stretch.
Repeat 3-5x each side.

Clam Shell Stretch

Start in side lying with knees/ hips bent, top knee on the floor in front of the bottom leg, and a pillow/ support under head and neck. Reach arms out in front with palms together.
Reach top arm up and rotate backwards with your torso and head. Try to keep looking at your hand. Set lower abdominal muscles to keep your hips still.
Ensure you can breathe, hold for a few seconds. Slowly return the top arm back to the starting position.
Repeat 5-10x each side.

Bow and Arrow (+/- theraband)

Start in side lying with knees/ hips bent and a pillow/ support under head and neck.
Reach arms out in front with palms together.
If using a theraband grip one end of it in each hand.
Set your abdominals to ensure your hips do not roll backwards.
Slowly draw the top arm back along the line of you lower arm (like a bow) until your top hand reaches your shoulder, pulling on the theraband as resistance. There should be some upper back twisting to reach this position.
Breathe and hold for a second or two and then return your hand to the starting position.
Repeat 8-12x each side.

Sunbather (+/- foam roller)

Lying on your back on a mat or on a foam roller with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
Place your hands behind your head allowing the elbows and shoulders to relax out to the side towards the floor.
Hold for 10-30seconds.

Foam Roller Thoracic Spine Extension

Lie gently back on the roller (across upper/mid back), knees bent, hands behind your head.
Ensure to switch on your lower abdominals to avoid excessive lower back extension.
Slowly extend your upper back over the roller, keep breathing, hold for a few seconds and return to starting position.
Repeat a few times with the roller over slightly different parts of your mid to upper spine.
NOTE: do not place foam roller directly under lower back or neck.

Foam Roller Chest Stretch

Lying along the foam roller (ensure head is fully supported), feet a few inches apart.
Place hands on the floor either side of you palms facing upwards.
Slowly raise your arms upwards (maintaining contact with the floor) until a stretch across the chest is felt.
Hold 30-60 secs.

Thoracic resisted rotation

Start sitting on a fit ball (or chair or kneeling) with theraband/ tubing attached to a door handle or post.
Hold each end of the band in your hands and rotating your torso to initiate the movement.
Twist to one side drawing the band back with your arm
Try to avoid over twisting with your neck or pulling too much with your arm.
Ensure to keep the resistance light to ensure the movement comes from your thoracic spine rather than your arms.
Repeat 8-12x each side.