Thoracic Spine

Main exercise list.

Arm Bar

Arm Bar:

Movement Targeted:            Shoulder packing, Horizontal abduction and adduction

Muscles Targeted:            Scapular stabilizers, Rotator cuff

This exercise is to help reestablish proper shoulder (glenohumeral) tracking.  In other words, we are teaching the muscles to keep the ball aligned with the socket during movement.  It falls into a category of exercises called ‘shoulder packing’ exercises.  This exercise can be helpful in creating better shoulder joint stability.

Begin the exercise lying on your side grasping the kettle bell with the arm that is closest to the floor.  For extra safety, support the kettle bell with the other arm as well.  Roll onto your back with the knee on the weight side bent and the other leg outstretched on the floor.  The kettle bell will be supported with both arms over your chest.  With both arms, press the weight straight up toward the ceiling, making your supporting arm perpendicular to the floor.  Reach the other arm away from the legs, outstretched on the floor.

Without moving your torso, pack your shoulder by pulling the shoulder girdle tight into your body.  This is a subtle but important movement, the position of which must be maintained throughout the exercise.

Begin to roll your body away from the weighted side, keeping your arm with the weight perpendicular to the floor throughout the roll.  Roll over so that the weight gets just posterior to the shoulder, then roll back and lower the weight.  As with all exercises, the range of motion that you work in should be pain free.

Bretzel

Chop in Half Kneeling

Chop in Half Kneeling:

Movement Targeted:            Resisted trunk rotation, maintenance of posture

Muscles Targeted:            Core

In this version, we are using the eponymous “Cook Band” (a fancy Theraband) and a homemade “Cook Bar” (aka: chop and lift bar–available from the ‘Perform Better’ catalog– I recommend the one with the fatter handle). You can also attach the bar to a cable pulley machine.  Either method works well, the Theraband version is a bit more challenging and has the option of introducing the element of speed once form is perfected.

You can do this exercise without the chop and lift bar.  Simply perform the same motion grasping the band.  On a cable pulley machine, the rope attachment works well.  The bar is preferred as it introduces a greater amount of torque into the exercise.

Posture is king in this exercise and maintaining ones balance is more important than how much resistance you use.  Make your torso tall and erect with 80% of your weight on the rear knee. An Airex pad under the knee both pads and protects the knee as well as adding an element of instability.

Once your form is perfected here, you can progress these exercises to standing in a split stance. If you can’t maintain posture, don’t stand up.

Performing the upper body rolling patterns and thoracic spine rotational stretches prior to doing the chops or lifts is recommended.

Chop in Kneeling

This is the “Chop In Kneeling” video. We are using the eponymous “Cook Band” (a fancy Theraband) and a homemade “Cook Bar” (aka: chop and lift bar–available from the ‘Perform Better’ catalog– I recommend the one with the fatter handle). You can also attach the bar to a cable pulley machine with the pulley in a high position.  Either method works well, the Theraband version is a bit more challenging and has the option of introducing the element of speed once form is perfected.

You can do this exercise without the chop and lift bar.  Simply perform the same motion grasping the band.  On a cable pulley machine, the rope attachment works well.  The bar is preferred as it introduces a greater amount of torque into the exercise.

Posture is king in this exercise and maintaining ones balance is more important than how much resistance you use.  Make your torso tall and erect and you are balanced. An Airex pad under the knee both pads and protects the knee as well as adding an element of instability. For added stability, you can squeeze a soft rubber ball between your knees.

Once your form is perfected here, you can progress these exercises to standing.  If you can’t maintain perfect posture, don’t stand up.

Performing the upper body rolling patterns and thoracic spine rotational stretches prior to doing the chops or lifts is recommended.

Kettle Bell Half Get Up

Latissimus Dorsi Foam Rolling

Lifts In Half Kneeling

This is the “Lift In Half Kneeling” video. We are using the eponymous “Cook Band” (a fancy Theraband) and a homemade “Cook Bar” (aka: chop and lift bar–available from the ‘Perform Better’ catalog– I recommend the one with the fatter handle). You can also attach the bar to a cable pulley machine with the pulley in its lowest position.  Either method works well, the Theraband version is a bit more challenging and has the option of introducing the element of speed once form is perfected.

You can do this exercise without the chop and lift bar.  Simply perform the same motion grasping the band.  On a cable pulley machine, the rope attachment works well.  The bar is preferred as it introduces a greater amount of torque into the exercise.

Posture is king in this exercise and maintaining ones balance is more important than how much resistance you use.  Make your torso tall and erect with 80% of your weight on the rear knee. An Airex pad under the knee both pads and protects the knee as well as adding an element of instability. As you improve, make your stance narrower.

Once your form is perfected here, you can progress these exercises to standing in a split stance. If you can’t maintain perfect posture, don’t stand up.

Performing the upper body rolling patterns and thoracic spine rotational stretches prior to doing the chops or lifts is recommended.

Lifts In Kneeling

This is the “Lift In Kneeling” video. We are using the eponymous “Cook Band” (a fancy Theraband) and a homemade “Cook Bar” (aka: chop and lift bar–available from the ‘Perform Better’ catalog– I recommend the one with the fatter handle). You can also attach the bar to a cable pulley machine with the pulley in its lowest position.  Either method works well, the Theraband version is a bit more challenging and has the option of introducing the element of speed once form is perfected.

You can do this exercise without the chop and lift bar.  Simply perform the same motion grasping the band.  On a cable pulley machine, the rope attachment works well.  The bar is preferred as it introduces a greater amount of torque into the exercise.

Posture is king in this exercise and maintaining ones balance is more important than how much resistance you use.  Make your torso tall and erect and you are well balanced. An Airex pad under the knee both pads and protects the knee as well as adding an element of instability. For added stability, you can squeeze a soft rubber ball between your knees.

Once your form is perfected here, you can progress these exercises to standing.  If you can’t maintain perfect posture, don’t stand up.

Performing the upper body rolling patterns and thoracic spine rotational stretches prior to doing the chops or lifts is recommended.

Opposite Arm / Leg Raise & “Swimming”

Pec Stretch – Standing, Unilateral

Quadruped Ball Squat with Shoulder Extension

Rib Pull

Seated Wall Slide, Unilateral & Bilateral

Shoulder Floor Slide

Thoracic Rotation Stretch with Vertical Reach

Thoracic Rotation Stretch

Thoracic Paraspinal Foam Rolling

Upper Body Rolling Pattern

Upper Body Rolling Patterns: I often tell my patients that if I could only do one exercise for the rest of my life, this would be it.  The importance of working on our movement fundamentals cannot be over emphasized.  We make the fastest and most profound changes in our bodies by accessing our body’s primitive patterns.  In short, one of the first movements an infant learns, after learning to control it’s head, is to roll over. This movement proves more challenging for adults. For this exercise, we are going to roll over using only the muscles above our waist.  No help from the glutes or hip flexors.  In order for you to complete this exercise, half of your core muscles need to fire (contract) and the other half need to relax (let go).  It is the later that we most commonly have problems with.  This exercise will help you regain mobility and efficient firing of your core.

For the supine to prone portion, lie on your back and reach one arm long and away from your feet.  The foot to hand will create the axis around which you will roll.  Keep the hand and foot as far apart as you can.  Turn your head in the direction of the elongated arm and reach in that direction with the other arm.  Remember, where the head goes, the body goes.  Then roll over.  Remember to keep everything below the waist quiet.

Then you must reverse the motion (from prone to supine) turn your head in the direction of your roll, lift the arm and roll, again, keeping your lower body limp.

Most people are not able to complete this exercise without assistance.  For ‘pattern assistance’ place a ball or pillow under your hip, which will place your body about 25% of the way through the roll.  You should then be able to complete the exercise.  The importance of this exercise is reprogramming the nervous system so don’t cheat by using your legs.  If you do, you will not derive the benefit of the exercise.  Don’t try this without the ball until you can do it easily with the ball.

Perform the same number both to the right and left.  As in all exercises, the motion should be pain free.

Upper Trap / Levator Stretch

Ys, Ts & Ws Scapular Stabilization

 

 

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