Spinal rotation

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rickyw

Level 6 Valued Member
Here is a good movement screen I use with patients for thoracic rotation:

Sit (this is important because it takes the pelvis out of it) with good posture, bring both hands up in front of you to the horizontal, palms together, fingers pointing forward, with elbows locked (and keep them locked). Rotate to one side and then the other. Your palms together with fingers forward work like a dial, showing you roughly the degrees of rotation that you have.

Take some pictures from above and then do some mobility work for a few weeks and then retake the pictures. See if your mobility work improved your range. People like to cheat by bending the elbows to rotate further around, so don't make that mistake.

I'm thinking along the lines of if you move well, you don't need much mobility work.
I would agree. Much, not any, being the key word. A lot of mobility work is superfluous. 80/20 principle applies with mobility as much as it does strength training. I've wasted a lot of time doing mobility work only to abandon it and find that months later I have not lost any range. Addressing the primary dysfunction in the system is imperative to getting results. Aka, you can stretch your hamstrings all day long but if your core is weak and unbalanced your hamstrings will tighten right back up a few hours after having stretched them. The caveat to this is if the volume of stretching you do is enough, you will cause permanent change to the length of tissue. This is called plastic deformation. This is not necessarily desirable...but it depends on your goals.

With the above in mind, I must add that some of this depends on individual body type. Some people are born with congenitally laxer ligaments and tissues than others. They have a higher elastin to collagen ratio of their connective tissues. These people will need even less mobility work, and in certain instances mobility work would be detrimental.

Good point! As a side note, does anybody have any loaded flexion moves they like? I actually am tipped more into extension, and it's the flexion that I need to work on.
Every spine is a little different. Some people are born and develop with straighter curves than others, and some have more curvature than others--even with proper muscular balance and mechanics. Muscle spasm can make a spine straighter too, so you have to tease out what's going on with yourself individually. But if you developed that way I wouldn't worry about it. I have seen people with very straight thoracic spines who have phenomenal thoracic rotation. We don't all fit the anatomy text.

My two cents, certain areas of the spine are biased to needed some more mobility - thoracic, cervical. Lumbar spine more biased towards stability, or limiting movement. Smarter minds than I have discovered this.
The lumbar spine actually has quite a bit of normal flexion and extension ROM. The problem is most people are just really unbalanced through the core and tight in the hips and t spine, so the lumbar spine takes more abuse and moves a little too much in some ways.
 
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D-Rock

Level 5 Valued Member
Take some pictures from above and then do some mobility work for a few weeks and then retake the pictures. See if your mobility work improved your range. People like to cheat by bending the elbows to rotate further around, so don't make that mistake.
Sounds fun, I'm going to do this!

@pet' This gives me an excuse to learn a yoga move =)
 
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