This exercise is a great mobility exercise to get the thoracic spine moving and open up the rib cage. Almost everyone can benefit from this exercise and there are many reasons why this can be an effective tool for your athletes, weekend warriors, or clinic patients. Most of us sit in front of the computer for a good chunk of the day and whether we want to admit it or not we don’t usually keep a good posture during that time.
When we look at an individual with an anterior pelvic tilt we often see the thoracic spine rounding to compensate so we can stay upright. Furthermore, if that individual has rounded shoulders with short pecs, the t-spine is furthermore flexed. How about the athlete with an internal rotation deficit due to the rotator cuff being short? Every time that athlete goes to throw or reach they have to substitute with scapular winging or thoracic flexion to compensate. The point is that there are many different reasons why this exercise can be beneficial to your toolbox and it’s a very easy way to start getting mobility back in the t-spine.
Lie on your back in the hookline position. Place the foam roller underneath the shoulder blades (inferior angle of the scapula) to start. Bend the elbows and grasp the back of you head. Slowly extend backwards over the foam roller. After a few repetitions bring the foam roller higher up your scapula and repeat. Make sure to keep your feet and glutes on the floor at all times and to not extend at the cervical or lumbar regions.
The single leg hip abductor squat is an advanced exercise that works on balance, strengthening, and function. This is a great exercise for athletes because it works both hip abductors simultaneously. Many times we give exercises that work the hip abductors on a single side which is beneficial, however, how many times does an athlete use only one side of their hip abductors during a game? The exercise will translate over functionally for return to play while challenging the athlete. Make sure to look for any movement deficits(such as my hip hike in the video below) when the athlete begins to squat.