2 Quick Exercises For Better Posture Instantly
Your thoracic spine is the formal terminology used to describe your upper back. It is
comprised of 12 vertebral bones and sits at approximately the level of your rib cage.
When we talk about thoracic “mobility” we are talking about the available movement or
range of motion of this region.
Thoracic mobility is incredibly important for a battery of functions including:
- Shoulder movement and function
- Proper breathing mechanics
- Neck range
If you have poor thoracic mobility, not only will you start to adopt a hunch back posture,
but you may also experience mid back pain, headaches, decreased performance in sport and
overhead exercise, low back discomfort and pain or difficulty taking a big breath in.
Changes in long term posture as a result of a stiff thoracic spine will alter how your upper
and lower body move and function, predisposing you to issues such as shoulder injuries and
low back pain.
A simple test to demonstrate this is to sit slouched forwards in your chair, now whilst in this
position try to:
- Take a big breath in 3 times
- Reach your arms up above your head
- Turn your head and neck to look to the sky and all the way over your left and right
Pretty tough hey?
Now try sitting up tall by tilting your hips forward and moving your shoulders “back and
down” then try the above list of items again.
Morale of the story, thoracic spine mobility matters!
We asked our senior therapist and resident back enthusiast, Shaun, for two of his favourite
exercises to improve thoracic mobility. Here they are:
1. Thoracic spine extension
Place a foam roller at right angles to your spine, at a spot somewhere along your mid back
(don’t fuss too much, you will move up and down throughout the exercise)
Place your hands gently behind your head and keep your shoulders out, ensure your feet
and hips remain on the ground, and gently extend your head and shoulders backwards over
the foam roller as far as you can. If you hold your breath you will limit rib cage mobility, so take a deep breath prior to extending and then exhale through the movement. You are likely to elicit some cracking noises whilst doing this exercise, don’t stress, this is a normal function of the joints (head to our facebook page for a post we did about cracking if you want extra info).
Repeat this a few times in the same spot then move the foam roller slightly up/down to
target another segment.
If you work at a desk this is a great one to do every hour or so a few times over the back of
2. Broomstick chest opener
Use a piece of dowel or broomstick as shown (umbrellas and golf sticks will also work)
Make sure the broomstick is across your upper back and you are actively squeezing your
shoulder blades back and down. You should feel the tension across the front of your chest
and shoulders. Hold this for 5 deep inhalations and exhalations and then try slowly rotating
to the end of available range left and right. Keep your feet strongly planted into the ground
and your hips/pelvis in the same spot.
To ensure you don’t compensate with your lower body, you can perform this drill in
Perform 10-15 rotations on each side
Happy mobilising team!
Has this article got you thinking about your crappy posture? If you would like a thorough
assessment and targeted treatment program for your spine please phone 9629 4608 and
book an initial assessment.
Please note that these exercises are not designed to replace the need for formal and
thorough assessment and treatment by a physiotherapist or medical practitioner.