Are you sitting at a desk as you are reading this?

Or you may be hunched over a computer or phone while seated? We spend much of our lives putting extra tension and strain on the mid back. In serving a lot of runners over the years, I have seen time and again how important it is to have good mobility through the thoracic spine (mid-back) while training and even improving times on race day.

Spending so much time in a seated position with our shoulders rounded over can dramatically affect the ability to move through different planes in an upright posture. If someone is constantly dealing with stiffness through the mid back, that is also affecting the low back stability. The latissimus dorsi muscle attaches to the vertebral column throughout the mid and low back. I often see tension throughout this muscle and a lack of mobility throughout the region.

Do you typically feel more stiffness while running or after a run? ‘Unlocking’ the mid back can be crucial to finishing out your race strong with a sprint rather than feeling tension throughout the entire back and hips, as well as allowing better connection and symmetry from the upper to lower extremities, allowing runners to have a fluid whole body stride instead of feeling ‘boxy’ or stiff.

Further, research shows the importance of mobility and stability of the thoracic spine and its impact on lung capacity. If we are constantly compressing and stressing the mid-back region, the maximal expansion of the lungs decreases and affects max effort training, VO2 max overall, and other aerobic functions.

This is shown for those dealing with both scoliosis (or even less than scoliotic curvatures) in the mid back, as well as hyper-kyphosis (extra rounding of the shoulders), noting the impact of the relationship of the vertebral column, rib cage attachments, and misalignments that can affect the overall lung function.

Want to do something today to improve your thoracic spine mobility & stability? Check out these exercises below!

Click HERE to watch Dr. Drew demonstrate the exercises below for mid-back mobility!

  • Wall Angels – A great stretch to ‘reverse’ the stress of sitting in front of a computer all day long. Often, it is tough for people to place the back of their skull along the wall without straining, let alone be able to work through a full range of motion.
  • Cat + Cow Stretch
  • Deep Squat with Thoracic Rotation to both sides – when doing this one, do you notice being able to turn/ extend more to one side? That can be telling on the symmetry of your mobility as well.
  • Side Lying Thoracic Windmill – similar thoughts on asymmetry from right to left here; this also helps to loosen the pectoralis muscle group that often can be tight and restricted.

Questions or want to see if we can help? Call or text us at 515.895.1400 or check us out at Revival Health Center. We would love to connect with you!

Yours in health, Dr. Drew O’Bleness