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For a More Upright Torso

By Marcus | In Health & Lifestyle, Posture | on November 7, 2012

Upright torso? Check. Bunny ears optional…

Which part of the back would you guess is supposed to be the most mobile? If you guessed lumbar, you’d be wrong. It’s actually the least with only about 30° of mobility. The correct answer would be the thoracic, which has up to a whopping 70° range of motion. The problem is our often sedentary, desk-bound jobs. (Seems to be a recurring theme doesn’t it?) Too much time sitting at a desk craning your neck to look at a monitor will leave you looking like a senior citizen far before your time. Observe below the comparison of a healthy spine versus one suffering from kyphosis (the abnormal curvature of the thoracic spine):

Notice the slumping, internally rotated shoulders and forward-protruding neck, as these are common signs of kyphosis. The question then is how does this affect your lifts? With a lack of mobility in such a highly flexible part of the spine, you force other less mobile areas — the cervical or lumbar spine — to take up the slack, which opens you up to injury. In addition, if you don’t have a flexible thoracic spine, it makes it even tougher to hold difficult positions such as the snatch/overhead squat or the front rack (for cleans and front squats). This is why if you have some stiffness in the upper back you should begin incorporating some thoracic mobility drills to your daily warmup. The site Stronglifts.com has a great article with several Youtube videos of drills you can do or ask any trainer how to use the foam roller to zero in on this region.

Further reading: Think of It As Potential Potential by Kelly Starrett of San Francisco CrossFit


WOD 11.07.12

Snatch 3-3-3

3 rounds for time:

  • 10 Toes-to-Bar
  • 15 Kettlebell Swings
  • 20 Double Unders

Rest 1 minute, then…

3 rounds for time:

  • 250m Row
  • 30yd Bear Crawl

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