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foam roller

Foam Roller : Thoracic Spine Mobility

Why is Thoracic Spine Mobility so Important?

The thoracic spine is the longest segment of the spine running from the neck to the abdomen. It is the only area of the spine that connects to the ribs. ⁣This area of the spine plays a vital role in load transfer between the upper and lower body. It also is a main contributor to rotational movement within the body. Because of this, poor thoracic spine mobility can contribute to issues at the neck, shoulder, low back, and hip. ⁣


How to improve thoracic extension and rotation:

  • Lumbar Locked Rotation
  • Foam Roller
  • Quadruped Thoracic Rotation
  • Sidelying Windmills
  • T-Spine Rotation with Hip Hinge
  • Overhead Wall Pushes⁣⁣

Check out our YouTube Channel and follow our Glendale Locations Instagram page for more information on improving Thoracic spine mobility.

Foam Roller: Thoracic Extension

The foam roller is a great tool to assist in improving thoracic spine mobility.  Most people rolling their spine tend to just go back and forth for several minutes over their spine. This doesn't create thoracic extension.The main objective of foam rolling is to relax the spine over the roller so we get some mobility in the vertebral joints of the thoracic spine. The key is relaxing your spine over the roller in several different segments along the thoracic spine.  Check out our video below on how to use a foam roller to improve thoracic extension.

 

Lumbar Locked Rotation

Lumbar Locked Rotation : Thoracic Spine Mobility

Why is Thoracic Spine Mobility so Important?

The thoracic spine is the longest segment of the spine running from the neck to the abdomen. It is the only area of the spine that connects to the ribs. ⁣This area of the spine plays a vital role in load transfer between the upper and lower body. It also is a main contributor to rotational movement within the body. Because of this, poor thoracic spine mobility can contribute to issues at the neck, shoulder, low back, and hip. ⁣


How to improve thoracic extension and rotation:

  • Lumbar Locked Rotation
  • Foam Roller
  • Quadruped Thoracic Rotation
  • Sidelying Windmills
  • T-Spine Rotation with Hip Hinge
  • Overhead Wall Pushes⁣⁣

Check out our YouTube Channel and follow our Glendale Locations Instagram page for more information on improving Thoracic spine mobility.

Lumbar Locked Rotation

The Lumbar Locked Rotation is not only a good test for identifying limitations in Thoracic Spine Mobility, but it is also a good stretch to help improve t-spine mobility.  This is a self-stretch with the low back in a firm position to increase thoracic spine rotation while stabilizing one side. Get into a quadruped position and sit the buttocks on the heels with the elbows and forearms placed firmly in the floor.  Check out our video below on how to perform this exercise.

 

plank exercise

Plank Exercise: Workout from Home Series

Make Bodyweight Exercises a Staple

Squats, deadlifts, and presses are great for getting strong and building a foundation, but you need to make sure you balance them out with a steady diet of body weight training. ⁣Bodyweight exercises keep you honest because you can’t just eat your way to improved leverages to see strength gains like you could with the barbell lifts. ⁣

Here are some of our favorite bodyweight exercises for the upper body that should be a staple in any program: ⁣

  • Push-up variations ⁣
  • Inverted Rows⁣
  • Chin/Pull Ups ⁣
  • Handstand variations ⁣
  • Dips⁣
  • Plank Exercise

Remember to scale each movement appropriately and progress according to your skill level. There are plenty of variations to keep you busy for months with this list of movements.⁣

Plank Exercise

The Plank Exercise is a great bodyweight exercise that targets the "core" muscles and involves the whole body.  There are many variations of this exercise that can increase the difficulty.  The variation below is a weighted, with the plate weight carefully placed on the back to increase the difficulty.  At home, you can use a filled backpack if you don't have weights to place on your back.  You can also check out this video: "20 Plank Exercise Variations", to learn more ways of performing this exercise.

pull-ups

Workout from Home Series: Pull-ups and Chin-ups

Make Bodyweight Exercises a Staple

Squats, deadlifts, and presses are great for getting strong and building a foundation, but you need to make sure you balance them out with a steady diet of body weight training. ⁣Bodyweight exercises keep you honest because you can’t just eat your way to improved leverages to see strength gains like you could with the barbell lifts. ⁣

Here are some of our favorite bodyweight exercises for the upper body that should be a staple in any program: ⁣

  • Push-up variations ⁣
  • Inverted Rows⁣
  • Chin/Pull Ups ⁣
  • Handstand variations ⁣
  • Dips⁣
  • Planks

Remember to scale each movement appropriately and progress according to your skill level. There are plenty of variations to keep you busy for months with this list of movements.⁣

Pull-ups and Chin-ups

Pull-ups and Chin-ups are great exercises that target your back and Biceps.  Unless you have a pull-up bar at home, you may need to go to a local park that has a bar you can use.

A Pull-up is performed by grabbing the bar with palms facing away from you. They target the Latissimus Dorsi, Trapezius, and forearm muscles.  Perform the exercise in a smooth controlled movement.  The goal is to pull your chin over the bar (More advanced: touch your chest to the bar).  Make sure to control the "down" phase of your pull-up in order to protect your shoulder joint

A Chin-up is performed by grabbing the bar with palms facing towards you. They target the Biceps, Latissimus Dorsi, and Teres Major muscles. Perform the exercise in a smooth controlled movement.  The goal is to pull your chin over the bar.  Make sure to control the "down" phase of your pull-up in order to protect your shoulder joint

Inverted row

Workout from Home Series: Inverted Rows

Make Bodyweight Exercises a Staple

Squats, deadlifts, and presses are great for getting strong and building a foundation, but you need to make sure you balance them out with a steady diet of body weight training. ⁣Bodyweight exercises keep you honest because you can’t just eat your way to improved leverages to see strength gains like you could with the barbell lifts. ⁣

Here are some of our favorite bodyweight exercises for the upper body that should be a staple in any program: ⁣

  • Push-up variations ⁣
  • Inverted Rows⁣
  • Chin/Pull Ups ⁣
  • Handstand variations ⁣
  • Dips⁣
  • Planks

Remember to scale each movement appropriately and progress according to your skill level. There are plenty of variations to keep you busy for months with this list of movements.⁣

Inverted Rows

Inverted Rows are a great back and biceps exercise that you can do at home.  While the demonstrated video shows a person is using a rack and barbell, you can use a sturdy table at home.  Place a pillow under your head before you begin.  Grab the top of the table while underneath, and from an inverted planking position, pull yourself up to the table.  You can also purchase TRX bands and install them at home

push-up variations

Workout from Home Series: Push-up Variations

Make Bodyweight Exercises a Staple

Squats, deadlifts, and presses are great for getting strong and building a foundation, but you need to make sure you balance them out with a steady diet of body weight training. ⁣Bodyweight exercises keep you honest because you can’t just eat your way to improved leverages to see strength gains like you could with the barbell lifts. ⁣

Here are some of our favorite bodyweight exercises for the upper body that should be a staple in any program: ⁣

  • Push-up variations ⁣
  • Inverted Rows⁣
  • Chin/Pull Ups ⁣
  • Handstand variations ⁣
  • Dips⁣
  • Planks

Remember to scale each movement appropriately and progress according to your skill level. There are plenty of variations to keep you busy for months with this list of movements.⁣

Push-up Variations

Push-up variations are one of the best upper body exercises you can perform to target chest, shoulders and triceps.  While push-ups are a great challenging strength exercise, they are one of the easiest to perform.  Below are videos of 4 push-up variations: Clapping Push-up, Diamond Push-up, Decline Push-up, and Dumbbell Push-up.

Total Sports Therapy College Scholarship

Truman Scholarship

Total Sports Therapy Graduate Studies Scholarshp

We are happy to announce that we are now sponsoring a $25,000 scholarship at Truman University.  Our owner, Drew Giardina, PT, DPT,  and his wife Katherine attended Truman University in Kirksville, Missouri and appreciated the foundation that the school provided in the success he experienced in his post graduate studies and in business.

Continuing to serve the communities of Cave Creek, Moon Valley, North Phoenix and Glendale has been a privilege of Total Sports Therapy and setting up scholarship opportunities has been a goal of ours to give back to future physical therapy students.  If you want to learn more about our scholarship, visit Truman University's website.

Scarecrow exercise

Shoulder Pain Series: Scarecrow Exercise

Shoulder Pain? Improve your shoulder health

In order to maximize back development and maintain shoulder health, make sure to include small isolation movements for the middle and lower traps, rhomboids, and rear deltoids. ⁣
Compound movements will often leave these muscles underdeveloped. It’s essential to train these small muscles with exercises such as:

  • 𝐘𝐓𝗪’𝐬 ⁣
    • Retract shoulder blades prior to initiating movement
  • 𝐅𝐚𝐜𝐞 𝐏𝐮𝐥𝐥𝐬 ⁣
    • Use a neutral grip so thumbs are facing you to bias external rotation ⁣
  • 𝐒𝐜𝐚𝐫𝐞𝐜𝐫𝐨𝐰𝐬 ⁣
    • “Pretend your biceps is a rotisserie chicken” (𝘧𝘢𝘷𝘰𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘦 𝘤𝘶𝘦 𝘌𝘝𝘌𝘙) to maintain joint centration during rotation ⁣
  • 𝐑𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐞 𝐅𝐥𝐲
    • Maintain slight elbow bend⁣
  • 𝐁𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐏𝐮𝐥𝐥 𝐀𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐬 ⁣
    • Straight elbows, initiate movement with shoulder blades⁣
  • 𝐅𝐥𝐚𝐬𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐬 ⁣
    • Hands pull away from body, keep elbows tight to body, maintain flexed elbow ⁣

These exercises can be done twice per week for a few sets of 12-20 reps. ⁣ Make some room for these by adding them into your warm up, in between work sets as a filler exercise, or in between workouts whenever you have free time. ⁣

Scarecrow Exercise

The scarecrow exercise is an excellent exercise for improving shoulder health.  During the scarecrow exercise you target abs and shoulders and also involves upper back & lower traps.  This exercise can be performed using cable pulleys, dumbbells, or elastic resistance bands.  The video below demonstrates the use of cable pulleys.