Midback rotation! One of my favorites. I always thought of myself as being pretty mobile, and then a PT I was working with asked me to rotate my thoracic spine (mid and upper back). Um, barely anything. I cheated 💥big time💥with my lumbar spine (low back)...which is a no-no.
As I watch other humans in nature moving and doing (I can’t help it!), I see a lot to be desired in the midback rotation department, especially us mamas. When you walk, do you feel your hips swishing like the agitator in a top load washing machine? Do your arms swing? If so (yay!) does your upper body (ribs and up) move any? Take a video of yourself walking and see what you see! (Little insider info: swishing hips might look sexy, but they are really not good for you in the long run.)
I will save walking mechanics for another post (it’s a lot!) but for now, here is a great little mobility exercise you can do before you even get out of bed in the morning. Hold your top knee down and don’t let yourself cheat by allowing the pelvis to rotate. How far down can you get your top elbow at first? Breathe into those top ribs and on each exhale sink a little farther into the stretch. Do a few breath cycles and then roll forward. Repeat a few more times and then switch sides.
Note: bend at the elbow and hold your hand behind your head for the most accurate rotation. A straight arm allows you to cheat with your shoulder complex and make it seem like you have a lot more range than you actually do have.
Is one side harder? How much can you get your elbow down towards the floor without forcing but by using breath work to ease it down? Any pain or discomfort? This should be a very gentle and easy exercise. Listen to your body and only do what you can do comfortably and pain free.
Runner, lifter of children, PTA, CPT, PCES, pelvic health zealot