Let’s do the twist… The magic of thoracic rotation

The thoracic spine is located between your neck and your lower back. Apart from the vertebrae (boney blocks that make up your spine), the rib cage also plays an important part through this part of the back.

Whilst general mobility is important through the thoracic spine, rotation is VERY important.

If you don’t use it you lose it… and thoracic rotation is no exception.

When you consider typical day to day habits or gym routines, thoracic rotation is commonly missed. Tightness through this area of the back has been linked to pain in the neck, shoulder, and lower back, as well as, an increased effort in breathing (which can makes singing a lot more difficult too). When we breathe our ribs must open up and expand, this becomes restricted when our thoracic spine gets tight. Poor or prolonged postures such as desk sitting also significantly contribute to this tightness or stiffness.

Optimising thoracic rotation can help to open up the chest, improving breathing and reducing tightness and pain in surrounding joints (i.e. neck and shoulders). Strength is also an important factor to address in thoracic spine, however, here are a few simple mobility exercises to get you started.

Exercises to encourage thoracic rotation…

1. Bow and Arrow 

*Add some light resistance by holding a theraband in both hands

2. Spine Twist 

  • Sit crossed legged with arms crossed in front
  • Lift up through sitting bones, stacking the spine up to the roof
  • Breath in… as you breathe out rotate through the mid back to one side
  • Breath n to hold… as you breathe out return to the centre
  • Repeat to the other side

*Keep the nose in line with your sternum (or breast bone) at all times

*Ensure you don’t arch or round your back throughout the movement

Watch out for more thoracic exercises in the coming blogs….


If you need more mobility right now….book in to see the wonderful Performance Medicine Physiotherapists!

03 9686 2373

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