Thoracic Spine mobility exercise

Thoracic spine mobility is an extremely important, and often times overlooked. Poor thoracic mobility can affect the shoulder, neck, low back, and hip. Unfortunately, our onto genesis process make us all very prone to poor thoracic mobility.

There are many variations of thoracic spine mobility exercises drills that find on social media. Many of them are great Exercise, but not for everyone.  

Here I kept a collection of thoracic spine mobility exercises that you can try with your patients. These are all great example, but at the end I will discuss my preferred technique. Let’s get started when trying to enhance thoracic spine mobility.

Thoracic Spine Mobility Exercises for Extension

We should start with thoracic spine mobility exercises that work on increasing thoracic spine extension.  Here are a couple of nice examples.

Mobility Exercise for Extension Using Tennis Balls

Here is a nice example of a simple extension mobilization for the thoracic spine.  This video, shows us how he uses two tennis balls to act as a pivot to thoracic extension:

Nice simple exercise that works on addressing the lack of thoracic spine exercise.  The tennis balls are positioned at various spine segments.

Exercise for Extension Against a Wall

Another nice drill that emphasizes thoracic extension can be performed against a wall.  

Exercises for Rotation

After we work on thoracic spine extension, we can also focus on thoracic spine rotation mobility.  Here are a couple of examples of good thoracic spine mobility exercises to enhance rotation.

Exercises for Rotation in the Seated Position

A simple thoracic mobility drill for rotation can be performed in the seated position.  Here is a nice demonstration.

As you can see, the person is squeezing something between her knees in the seated position.  This is intended to help engage the core and limit the amount of lumbar stability.  This seems really simple but the majority of people with poor thoracic mobility will perform this poorly and rotate from the lumbar spine.  


First, I start off with simple foam rolling of the thoracic spine.  I like to start with foam rolling to loosen up the soft tissue of the thoracic spine and reduce and potential spasm or muscle tightness that might limit my joint mobility.

Next, I will work on extension mobility.  When the thoracic spine is in a flexed position, it is going to be very difficult to achieve rotation, so I want to work on extension first so that my upcoming rotational drills are more effective.

Lastly, we have loosened up the muscles and increased thoracic spine extension and work towards increasing rotation.  

As mobility increases, I use many of the other exercises demonstrated above based on the individual deficits and goals.  There are a lot of options when performing thoracic spine mobility exercises, what else have you found to be effective?

Give your thoughts in comment section.

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