What is T-Spine Mobility? In simple English pleae

Sean M

> 1k Posts
My understanding is most Western folks are hunched over computers, in cars, phones, etc. all day and the middle part of our spine (thoracic, a.k.a. T-spine; lower is lumbar, neck is cervical) is compromised from all that. Mobility means full range of motion, so t-spine mobility means exercises and stretches to get it moving how it should, and so movements that require full range of motion aren't "impinged" (not able to fully execute) because the t-spine is the limiting factor.

So for me, I have a desk job, and if I don't do enough halo's, pump stretch, etc., my getups are harder (specifically it is more difficult to keep my shoulder packed and arm straight from the kneeling to standing and back down to kneeling portion), I believe due to compromised t-spine mobility from a day of sitting hunched over a computer.

Hope that helps - I'll let the real experts weigh in now :)
 

wespom9

More than 500 posts
Certified Instructor
The thoracic spine is a common area that suffers from a loss of mobility, as in one loses the ability to consciously flex, extend or rotate. Applies to the whole area, T1-12, though I find most issues are T2-T7 ish. As it turns out, that is exactly where the scapulae (shoulder blades) sit. Most common dysfunction is stuck in a flexed, hunched over state. Without the ability to straighten, extend, or generally keep in an upright posture, the scapulae are unable to upwardly rotate effectively. Because raising the shoulder forwards, sideways, up requires a good chunk of scapular rotation combined with gleno-humeral (ball in socket) motion, the ability to move through the thoracic spine is important. A locked t-spine will limit the ability to effectively move the arms overhead with any sort of competency.

tl;dr : t-spine needs to be in good position so scapulae can effectively allow shoulder to get arm to go overhead.
 

pet'

> 6k Posts
Hello,

IMO, it is the ability to move it in all dimension : forward / backward / lateral + twist + combinations (eg. backward + twist)

Kind regards,

Pet'
 

Mark Kidd

More than 500 posts
I do those, plus band shoulder dislocates, on all fours hand behind the head raising elbow thing, and on lower back and push shoulder in thing.
 

King Cobra Fit

Matt - CSEP-CPT, SFG I, FMS I&II
Certified Instructor
Hey Mark,
Just digging through old threads for educational purposes and came across this one.
How's the T-Spine mobility coming?
I was wondering, do you find a connection between your glute issue and your T-Spine issue (ie "Tighter" trying to rotation away from your "bigger" glute or vise versa)?
 

Wesker11

More than 300 posts
Um, do you have a video or photo of this move? I am not following the concept whatsoever.......o_O:oops::eek:
Top Five Thoracic Mobility Drills to Improve Your Overhead Pressing - The Barbell Physio

#2 from this page.

My thoracic rotations sucks. I am making some great strides as of late however. Here is my routine.

QL stretch from S&S with band assistance
Bench Thoracic Extensions #3 from above
Candlestick bridge
Brettzel supersetted with #2 Quadraped rotations from above
You can follow it up with some Bent Presses, doesn't have to be heavy at all. As light as 12kg will get you benefits.

Also work on your Pec Minor as much as possible. Tough one to stretch. Eric Cressey has some good drills for it. Recently learned of Max Shank's Thoracic Bridge. I'll be giving this one some GTG love throughout the day.
 

Mark Kidd

More than 500 posts
Hello

No number two is not it.

Go down on all fours.
Place one hand on the back of the head.
Slowly move your elbow up and try to bring it as close to perpendicular to the floor as possible. You won't get anywhere near 90 degrees I don't think. Make sure the other hand stays rooted to the floor.

Hope that helps or gives you an idea. I found it did nothing. But #2 as suggested did.
 

Michael Scott

> 2k Posts
Thanks for sharing that @Wesker11. There is a video that @Anna C shared, that showed her T-Spine 1 movements, with the first movement like #1 from that link. I cannot find it right now, but yeah, those movements work. I will have to try that #2 tonight when I get home.
 

Michael Scott

> 2k Posts
Just to clarify, I should only be moving the elbow up to the ceiling, or should I be trying to open my chest to the ceiling, while my off hand stays rooted to the floor?

Hello

No number two is not it.

Go down on all fours.
Place one hand on the back of the head.
Slowly move your elbow up and try to bring it as close to perpendicular to the floor as possible. You won't get anywhere near 90 degrees I don't think. Make sure the other hand stays rooted to the floor.

Hope that helps or gives you an idea. I found it did nothing. But #2 as suggested did.
 

Mark Kidd

More than 500 posts
Just to clarify, I should only be moving the elbow up to the ceiling, or should I be trying to open my chest to the ceiling, while my off hand stays rooted to the floor?
Both but allow minimal twisting. So it didn't make sense as explained to me and didn't do anything both styles. #2 in the article posted did help.
 

Mark Kidd

More than 500 posts
@Michael Scott

Honestly these helped me the most:

1) Armbars
2) Halos
3) Snatching the bell over my head. Staying tight and with the shoulder sunk, gentley pushing your chest forward.
4) #2

Honestly I'm not sure if all those are t-spine related but they helped me look like I'm not trying to permanently shrug my shoulders and helped with fatigue and stiffness in my shoulders/upper back/neck
 

Michael Scott

> 2k Posts
I tried a simple version of shoulder dislocates with my exercise band on Wednesday, and those really helped my shoulder mobility. I do perform T-Spine exercises about 2-3 times a week. The "open the book, (#1)" and another where I sweep my hand from the same starting point as #1 to the other side of my body reall opened up my thoracic mobility. Arm bars & pullovers from "4 weeks to flexible steel" are also great exercises as well.

@Michael Scott

Honestly these helped me the most:

1) Armbars
2) Halos
3) Snatching the bell over my head. Staying tight and with the shoulder sunk, gentley pushing your chest forward.
4) #2

Honestly I'm not sure if all those are t-spine related but they helped me look like I'm not trying to permanently shrug my shoulders and helped with fatigue and stiffness in my shoulders/upper back/neck
 

Wesker11

More than 300 posts
I am sure there are different restrictions for different people, but I've found the arm bars really do not do much from my thoracic rotation. The biggest WTF factor for me has been the Bent Press and believe it or not, the Candlestick bridge. The CS bridge gives me an immediate boost in range of motion.
 

Mark Kidd

More than 500 posts
I am sure there are different restrictions for different people, but I've found the arm bars really do not do much from my thoracic rotation. The biggest WTF factor for me has been the Bent Press and believe it or not, the Candlestick bridge. The CS bridge gives me an immediate boost in range of motion.
For sure dude. I'm not an expert in mobility. I just responded to the question for what helped me. I'm sure there are a bazillion excercises out there.
 

King Cobra Fit

Matt - CSEP-CPT, SFG I, FMS I&II
Certified Instructor
another suggestion I have would be to visit the www.functionalmovement.com and search the exerices library and look for T-spine rotation with Rib grab, T-spine rotation with reach and T-spine rotation with arm sweep (should be a few of the first ones on the "exercises page). These are some of the best mobility drills I've found for the t-spine/shoulder mobility and working overhead.
 
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