Thoracic mobility - What is it and why is it good for you? - Pilates Fit Perth

The thoracic spine has gotten a lot of attention lately! Whether you have heard about it in regards to posture, Pilates, or scrolling through social media. So what is the thoracic spine and why is thoracic mobility important?

The thoracic spine is made up of 12 vertebrae in the middle of the spine and the vertebra attach to the ribs. The thoracic spine is an important component to keep healthy and moving (just like any part of your body). A lot of external factors can prevent people from going into thoracic extension, daily sitting at a computer, poor posture, chronic pain or fear of movement. This is why we include thoracic extension in Pilates – it helps us enjoy and benefit from the movements we don’t otherwise in our daily life.

The thoracic spine loves extensions and rotation and it is designed is for this type of movement! When we prevent it from moving this way it starts to feel stiff and maybe even sore. Imagine if you kept your elbow bent for weeks and didn’t straighten it, how stiff and sore it would be! This is the same principal for the spine.

Thoracic extension also assists us to have full overhead reach (lifting your arms above your head to go woohoo on a roller coaster). Without thoracic extension, we would have limited shoulder range of motion which affects daily tasks such as hanging the washing on the line or reaching up to get something out of a high cupboard.

We love thoracic extension and moving the spine the way it is designed to move, “motion is lotion”, it increases blood flow and the flow of beautiful nutrients to our joints.  I’m sure you feel great after thoracic exercises too!

Want to get the most out of your thoracic extension exercises? Keep reading to find out our 5 top tips:

1. Assure your lumbar spine isn’t doing the work and being the main extensor. Try to keep your lower back neutral and focus on your upper spine.
2. If there is limited thoracic spine mobility, the ribs may flare, especially when doing a stretch laying over the foam roll, think of drawing your rib cage in and down.
3. Assure your hips don’t lift, another compensation for reduce thoracic spine extension.
4. Don’t stress about getting a massive range of motion, just focus on technique and moving one vertebrae at a time – this is more important.
5. Control your breathing and perform slow and steady reps.
Enjoy the ‘feel good’ thoracic extension brings!
Want to enjoy the benefits of thoracic extension with us? Book here
Hope to see you soon – Shalee Pilates Fit Perth



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