Many people display limited thoracic spine rotation. Often, they have asymmetries based on their chosen sport or recreational activity. For rotational activities such as throwing, swimming, tennis, volleyball, etc. limited rotation can lead to overuse symptoms and impact the joints above and below (shoulder and lumbar spine). Incorporating dynamic movements that encourage T-spine mobility as well as integrated kinetic chain movement is suggested during movement prep/warm-up to optimize movement and reduce injury risk.
Begin in standing and lunge forward onto the left leg while placing the right hand on the outer portion of the left knee. As you descend into the lunge position rotate the trunk fully to the left while following the left outstretched arm with your eyes. Maintain an erect spine moving through the full available range of motion. Pause and then return to the start position. Repeat the same movement pattern lunging on the right leg and using the left hand to stabilize the lower body.

Perform 5-8 repetitions on each side in an alternate fashion. Move deliberately and slowly to avoid unwanted motion and loss of balance. Step length can be adjusted based on client’s body and form.

This is an excellent way to improve thoracic spine mobility. It also reinforces the need for coordinated and integrated movement between the hips and torso, while addressing hip and knee stability during the lunge itself.

Maintain a static split squat position and perform 5-8 rotations on the same side and then switch legs.

Perform the alternating torso lunge with rotation in a walking pattern to complete the desired repetitions.

Brian Schiff, PT, OCS, CSCS, is a licensed physical therapist, respected author and fitness professional. Currently, he serves as the supervisor for Athletes' Performance at Raleigh Orthopaedic in Raleigh, NC. 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