Mobility and Flexibility: Spine Edition
Spinal mobility is paramount to our overall health. It helps you mobilize your entire body, helps support good posture, and can play a specific role in soreness we feel in other parts of our body. However, the spine is complex and focusing on the specific areas of the spine yields different results. So to help you out, we teamed up with Jason Gonalez to walk you through a few spinal mobility exercises that are certain to improve the overall health of your spine.
General Spinal Mobility: Cat-Cow
Your spine flexes, extends and rotates. This is normal for the function and health of your spine. Not only will cat-cow be beneficial for mobilizing your flexion and extension, but it’ll also give you feedback. This feedback will tell you where you’re at now with your control and function of the spine.
- From all fours bring yourself into a flexion. But don’t just snap up into it. Think of segmental flexion. This means starting at your tailbone, slowly start to flex it or tuck it under you and gently work your way up the spine.
- Exhale as you get to the top of flexion (rounded spine).
- Then reverse into extension (arched spine).
- The same thing with extension, start at the neck and segment your way down the spine.
- 1-2 sets of 5 cats and 5 cows
Thoracic spine (or your mid to upper back) makes up the longest part of the spine and is also the most complex. Back pain in the thoracic area is common but can be short-lived if dealt with appropriately. Your Thoracic Spine is important to move on a daily basis. It can have an influence on your lower back, shoulders, and neck. With the below drills, we will focus on flexion and extension and overall mobilitys of that portion of your spine.
Thoracic Extension: Sphynx Pose
Thoracic or mid to upper back extension is crucial for the movement of that joint. Especially if you find yourself slouching a lot and wanting to develop a more upright position, this could help.
- Lay on your belly and place your elbows right under your shoulders.
- Look up towards the ceiling as you drive your shoulder blades into your back pockets and start to lift yourself up.
- Drive your shoulders away from your ears and exhale.
- 2-3 sets 10 slow repetitions
Thoracic Mobility: Sit Back Thoracic Cat/Cow
- Sit back onto your heels and place your hands on the floor.
- Push your hands through the floor as you start to round your upper back.
- Exhale as you push up.
- Now go in the opposite direction, you’ll slowly bring your chest through your arms while keeping your elbows straight.
- 2-3 sets 10-15 repetitions
Thoracic Mobility: Crouched T-Spine Rotation
- Breathing is key here. Exhale as you rotate up towards the ceiling.
- Follow your elbow with your eyes as you rotate up.
- 2-3 sets of 5-10 rotations
Thoracic Mobility: Thoracic Spine Archer
- Keep your knees together through the whole movement, this will limit rotation coming from your low back.
- Follow your hand with your eyes as you come across and rotate.
- Exhale as you rotate across the body.
- 2-3 sets of 5-10 rotations