The T-spine, which is your mid-back area and stands for Thoracic Spine, gets a lot of attention here at Valeo. This area of the body was meant to extend slightly in order to keep you in an upright, “good posture” position. Look around the room (or in a mirror, lol) and you’ll see that most of have mid backs that do the opposite of that – that are, instead, flexed or “hunched forward.”This is especially evident in those of us who sit most of the day at our computers/phones or who simply haven’t developed strength or extension mobility in the T-spine area.
Being able to properly extend through the T-spine is essential for any movement that requires you to lift overhead and even exercises like deadlifting and squatting, helping to offset sheer forces on the spine. Furthermore, good T-spine mobility helps prevent the kyphotic curve (forward spine curve we often see with age) and keeps shoulders healthy and protected.
An exercise we often program to help keep the T-spine mobile and able to extend is the Bench T-Spine Extension Mobility.
Here’s one of our rockstar members, Will, doing this move during this lifting program yesterday.
- Put elbows on top of the bench (or low table or couch or stability ball, etc), knees on the ground. Once your elbows are on the bench, sit your hips backwards and let your head drop between your arms (keep neck neutral/straight). “Sink down” between your upper back (not lower back). You should feel the chest open up, the shoulder blades come together and the lats under the armpits stretch. Continue holding this position of upper back sinking toward the floor and hold for 5-seconds or so; come back up, take a breath and repeat 3-5 times.
- This mobility exercise can be done as part of a warm-up or, like Will, within your actual workout, between sets.
Click below to watch a 20-sec video of this exercise.
We’ve seen great relief from aches and pains, more upright posture and improved lifting in the gym from incorporating this move regularly with our members. Give it a try!
Jess + Team Valeo
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