Decreased mobility inthe thoracic spine often creates dysfunction and stress on other parts of thekinetic chain, namely the shoulder and lumbar spine. In many cases, clientswill demonstrate asymmetry based on their sport, activity level and injuryhistory. This exercise offers a simply, yet effective corrective exercise theycan do at home to restore motion..
Begin in a side lying position with the down leg straight and in line with the body. Position the arms so that the shoulders are at 90 degrees of flexion, elbows are straight and palms together. Be sure to support the head and neck in an effort to keep the cervical spine in neutral alignment. Finally, flex the top hip and knee to 90 degrees allowing the inner and distal thigh to rest on the foam roller.

Now, press the top leg into the foam roller as you slowly separate the top arm from the bottom arm and rotate away from the floor. Allow the head/eyes to track and follow the moving arm. Continue pressing the top thigh into the roller and rotate the torso until a moderate stretch is felt. Hold for 2-3 seconds and then slowly return to the start position. Perform 5-10 repetitions on each side. For additional stabilization, the trainer may opt to knee behind the client and prevent any pelvic rotation and movement in the lumbar spine. Clients should not experience any pain or push too vigorously through restrictions.

Have the client lockor pin the top leg to the floor by overlapping the outside of the bottom leg ontop of the ankle/fibula of the top leg. Ensure clients are able to do thisproperly, and you may need to cue or help position the legs for them initially.


This exercise offersa simple mobility drill for clients with thoracic spine rotational deficits. Addressingsaid limitations with golfers, throwers, tennis players, volleyball players,etc. will help reduce injury risk and improve performance. This exercise can beused as part of their warm-up routine as well.

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