Our spinal column is made up of segments: 1. cervical spine 2. thoracic spine 3. lumbar spine 4. sacrum, and 5. coccyx. Each of these segments have different capabilities & functions, all designed for a certain ranges of motion.
The thoracic cage refers to the thoracic segment (also referred to as the T-spine), which encompasses the shoulder and chest region. Your T-spine is made up of 12 vertebrae (T1-12), and form the more commonly known ribcage. Said ribcage is the structure that protects the most vital organs in your body, which explains why it has the seemingly least amount of mobility in comparison to the rest of your spine.
The T-spine is built for 3 main movements: flexion, extension & rotation.
It has the potential for lots of mobility, but because of the way it is built, the T-spine must be used and moved in order to preserve its mobility. When we lose this mobility due to inactivity and lack of body awareness, more often than not do we try to flex, extend & rotate from what we THINK is our thoracic spine, when really we are most probably generating said movements from our lumbar spines instead.
Join @calibratebystephanie for a simple quadruped thoracic rotation drill
• HOW TO •
1. Set up your quadruped position, place your wrists below your shoulders and knees below your hips. Maintain a neutral spine by bracing your abdominals and connecting with your hips.
2. Bring one hand to your head, as if you're about to salute somebody♀️Your elbow should be pointing out by your side.
3. Keeping your lower body still, rotate only through the upper back, attempting to look up towards the ceiling (or sky), bringing your elbow up with you.
~You should feel your shoulder blades come together at the top of the movement~
4. Hold at the top for 1-2 sec before lowering back to your starting position. Repeat for 8-10 repetitions on each side. Total: 2-3 sets.
One last tip would be to pair your normal breathing patterns with each phase of the movement (ie. as you exhale, open the elbow up towards the sky & as you inhale return to the starting position).