Thoracic kyphosis and latissimus tightness is a common presentation in many clients. Poor posture and the use of computers, tablets and phones and repetitive activity leads to this presentation. For overhead athletes and throwers this posture may lead to increased risk of shoulder impingement and/or other dysfunction. This exercise will utilize a self thoracic spine mobilization followed by a static stretch to improve posture and soft tissue mobility.
Begin in a kneeling position and place the forearms on the ball (may use a bench as well). Next, flex the knees and lower the glutes toward the heels to lock in the hips and lumbar spine as you slide forward on the ball. As the shoulders flex, intentionally push the chest down toward the floor and pause for 3-5 seconds. Ease off and allow the shoulders to slowly extend prior to repeating this sequence. 

Perform 5-8 repetitions. Then roll out and hold for a sustained stretch for 2-30 seconds and repeat this 2-3 times. If you opt to use a bench, simply focus on rocking back more to the heels in the movement to facilitate more shoulder flexion..

This exercise will facilitate improved thoracic spine extension and reduce lat tightness. The combination of self mobilization and stretching will improve posture and maximize mechanics for anyone suffering from postural dysfunction and resulting neck, shoulder or back pain. In addition, this exercise is great for any overhead athletes and throwers as it will reduce risk for shoulder impingement and optimize mechanics and performance. 

Use caution with any athletes or clients who have shoulder instability or who have recently suffered a dislocation event. Do not force the shoulder through any painful ROM in the event a client has rotator cuff/labral pathology. 

Brian Schiff, PT, OCS, CSCS, is a licensed physical therapist, respected author and fitness professional. Currently, he serves as the supervisor for EXOS API at Raleigh Orthopaedic. Brian conducts live continuing education webinars and presents nationally at professional conferences and seminars on injury prevention, rehab and sport-specific training. For more information on his products and services, visit

Topic: Functionally Fit

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