Recall from previous topics we’ve discussed that the thoracic spine is a part of the shoulder complex.
A stiff or painful thoracic spine can absolutely contribute to the development of a painful shoulder. Not to mention an obvious pain in the back!
This is why it’s important to include exercises in your home routine that incorporate thoracic mobility training.
Today, we’ll be focusing on a thoracic extension stretch while seated in a chair.
This exercise is very easy and convenient to perform any time, anywhere. All you need is a chair with back support.
Now, I will admit that I’m not crazy about the chair I’m having to use for a demo (unfortunately, it’s all I had available). The back is a little too high for my taste with this particular exercise.
Although I can still use the chair back in the images here as a good support to lean into to press into thoracic extension, I would achieve better range if the chair back ended at about my mid thoracic spine.
All-in-all though, I can still feel the stretch with this.
Here’s how to do this one at home!
Step 1: Starting Position:
- Begin seated in a chair with a supportive back.
- Position your feet flat on the floor.
- Make sure to sit with a nice, tall posture.
Step 2: The Stretch:
- Wrap your arms around yourself as if giving yourself a big hug.
- With your back pressed into the back of the chair, extend and arch the back.
- This movement should feel as if you’re extending up and over the back of the chair.
- Keep the neck neutral, avoiding hyperextension of it.
- Hold this stretch for 5 seconds, then return to your starting position.
- Repeat 10x.
Tip: To advance this stretch, you can change the position of your arms. You can reach the arms up and back, moving them overhead, as you do this stretch for one option. Another option is to position the hands behind your head, pressing the elbows back as you stretch (think of it like you’re relaxing while lying in the sun).
Have fun with this one!