5-minute thoracic spine routine for tight shoulders and a stiff back | Emma Maher

5-minute thoracic spine routine for tight shoulders and a stiff back | Emma Maher

This short 3-step mobility sequence will free up your back and shoulders, release tension and stress from your body. If you find yourself hunching or looking at your phone too much, this is for you! 

You will need:

A foam roller or alternatively you can use a mobility ball. If you don’t have either, skip the first exercise and spend longer on the rest.

Foam rolling your upper back

Setting up:

  1. Lay on your back with the foam roller under your shoulder blades.
  2. Bend your knees with your bum and feet on the ground.

How to:

  1. Place your hands behind your head to support your neck.
  2. Pull your belly button towards your ribs to avoid arching your lower back and put your pelvis in a neutral position.

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3. Leading with your head, arch your upper back around the foam roller.

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4. Return to the starting position and repeat.

Tips:

  1. Avoid lifting your bum too high off the ground if you want a greater stretch.
  1. Keep your core engaged and pelvis neutral to avoid arching your lower back. 
  1. Don’t go lower than your shoulder blades with the foam roller as this may cause discomfort.

The cat/cow 

Setting up:

  1. Position yourself on your hands and knees.
  1. Place your hands below your shoulders.
  1. Place your knees below your hips.

How to: 

  1. Begin on your hands and knees in table pose with a neutral spine. As you inhale, lift your sit bones upward, press your chest forward and allow your belly to sink.

 

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  1. Lift your head, relax your shoulders away from your ears, and look straight ahead.
  1. As you exhale, come into cat pose by rounding your spine upward, tucking your tailbone under and drawing your pubic bone forward. 

cat-cow-2

  1. Release your head toward the floor but don’t force your chin to your chest. Most importantly, try to relax.

Thoracic Rotation

Setting up: 

  1. Start on your hands and knees with your knees under your hips and your hands under your shoulders. You should look like a table.

How to:

  1. Reach one hand down your back behind your head so that your elbow is facing up.

thoracic-rotation-image-1

  1. With your hand behind your head, rotate your elbow down under your body towards your opposite knee.  

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  1. Sit your bum back slightly as you tuck. Then rotate through your spine to open your elbow up toward the ceiling as much as you can. 

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  1. Open your chest up toward the ceiling and push your hips slightly forward as you rotate. You should feel a nice stretch down your back and even into the outside of your opposite hip/glute.

Tips:

  1. Make sure to really rotate as much as you can each time.
  2. Try not to “flap” your elbow as you perform the rotations, practice control. 

If this has helped, I’d love you to join one of my online classes. Hope to see you there. 

Emma x

Emma Maher is a Personal Trainer, Women's Wellness Coach and Sports Massage Therapist. Based in Stamford, Lincolnshire, she has over 8 years of collective knowledge ranging from sports to specialist women's rehabilitation. Find out more about Emma and her work here.

@emspired.movement https://www.emspiredmovementandmassage.co.uk/ 

 

By Liv Evans