2 Exercises to Fix Your Stiff T-Spine

Your spine is designed to move…

Well, maybe not if you’re dressing up as Frankenstein today for Hallowe’en, but every other day your spine should be doing what it’s made to do.

frank

If the spine was designed to be like a stiff rod, there wouldn’t be 7 cervical, 12 thoracic and 5 lumbar vertebrae that can move in every plane of motion through flexion/extension, side bending and rotation.

Instead, we’d simply have a single bone, like other body segments that aren’t supposed to move such as the femur and humerus.

But no, we’ve got a spine made up of many different
joints that are ALL designed for MOVEMENT.

Modern day life has our spine either straight or flexed most of the time and because we spend so much time there, our bodies adapt and adopt it as the norm, hence all the people who like depressed with their hunch backs walking around.

And because we don’t use our ability to extend and rotate our spines, we lose it.

Well, the 2 new exercises I’m sharing with you today that use the foam roller (something we should all have at home) will help you get your extension back.

The first drill gets you to your full thoracic extension (whatever that may be for YOU), then builds strength there, specifically in the spinal extensors like the multifidus and those little-known spinalis and longissimus muscles.

That’s how you gain and keep new ranges of motion: you build strength at that range.

This is a critically important point, hence the bolded text.

If you simply achieve a new range of motion through stretching, you will quickly lose it because without strength in that range, your central nervous system (CNS) sees that range as weak and unstable and any range that’s weak and unstable is a risk for injury, which your CNS doesn’t want (it likes you, it really likes you).

That’s one of the concepts at the core of my Hip Flexibility Solution and Shoulder Flexibility Solution programs.

The second drill will build active strength to get you to your full range of thoracic spine extension by actively contracting the lower and middle traps and rhomboids, which will also result in co-contraction of the deep spinal extensors.

It’s these deep spinal extensor muscles we’re targeting that will help us gain new T-spine extension, especially since you’ve probably never worked them before.

So that’s the background for you so you understand what we’re doing and why – now that you know what’s up, give it a shot:

Exercise #1: 1-2 sets x 10 reps

Exercise #2: 1-2 sets x 4-6 reps with a 3 sec hold

What do you think of this video style, where I do a voice over instead of talk?

It’s a little experiment I tried – it takes more time/work and I’m not sure I want to do it that way anyway, but I’m wondering what you think or if you have any other suggestions on how I do my vidz.

Let me know in the Comments – I’d love your feedback.

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68 Comments on "2 Exercises to Fix Your Stiff T-Spine"

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[…] why today’s drill and other exercises like this that address your thoracic spine and shoulders  are important to do on a daily […]

tom
tom

as some one who is deaf/ hearing impaired close caption would be a huge blessing would get a ton more understanding of what or how too do the exercise or any points your trying to get across

Fritz
Fritz

Prefer this format.

Larry
Larry

I’m okay with the original way – lean, fast, less admin –
Pictures/ video worth 1000 words anyway 😉

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[…] the 2 separate elements that we worked on in the previous 2 posts on the blog (Deep Squat Pivot, T-Spine Exercises), which are deep squat mobility and thoracic spine […]

Dee
Dee

This format makes it easier to understand what’s going on because you’re narrating what’s happening as it’s happening, and you don’t have to keep pausing to explain. Also the audio is much clearer. The first exercise makes me think of the fish pose in yoga. 🙂

Nigel Griffiths
Nigel Griffiths

Prefer this way of delivering the vids! The old way records lots of background noise, traffic, wind noise, etc plus more info is passed out about what to do!
Much better, also shots from other angles could be run together!

Art Yahiku
Art Yahiku

I really like this format.

Misty Fuimaono
Misty Fuimaono

I like the voice over. It makes for easy understanding of the exercises.

Nuno
Nuno

That’ great with the voice over. I prefer it, specially useful when the exercise has more details.

Lew Cutter
Lew Cutter

Nice stretch and strengthening variations for an old mans back.

Eric Wong

Who you calling an old man, Lew? 😉

Lance
Lance

I like this format – easy to follow along with the voiceover.

John
John

Very good. Will incorporate with my roller workout.

john
john

format is great. Do a vid on chronic shoulder clunk repair.

Chris
Chris

Really liked the new vid style. More succinct and the voice with the demo makes it easier to understand the movements.

Jere Järvinen
Jere Järvinen

Voice-over was good, allowed to watch the drill simultaneously. I got to try these!

Mike
Mike

I tried these and I feel like I just had my back cracked in a good way meaning freedom of movement…similar to that feeling you get after scouring your joint like you just grinded out the crap from the socket…

Another question…I have pain i my shoulder doing dips or dumbbell chest press…Can I still do your shoulder hardening routine, pushups etc if I find a position that doesn’t hurt?

Jean
Jean

Voice over seems much calmer and more peaceful. Outside lighting really good….not as dark, easier to see.

don
don

great! i like the video and excellent voice over!

Rick
Rick

Love the format

Julie
Julie

Definitely like the voice over style! I think you cover more information and it is easier for me to concentrate on viewing how to correctly do the moves. Keep your personality though – it makes your vidz unique and casual, but still informative. I like that you are not screaming at us. On the inside vidz, the open threshold is a black hole and sometimes it is hard to see the smaller changes you are talking about. e.g.put up a room screen to provide a more uniform background.

Steven
Steven

Voice over dude! WAy better, more professional

Bob
Bob

Voice over much better for me! Speech clarity/volume aren’t as varied or muffled as speech DURING exercise.

Alison Gootman
Alison Gootman

Both styles are good but the voice over somehow makes it easier to hear and understand.

jamie
jamie

thank you so much, this is information is *perfect* timing for me. i like both video styles, but if the voiceover is more difficult and time consuming I’d say go ahead and stick with what gives you more time. your energy is important 🙂

Donna
Donna

I like both styles of video but this was very easy to listen to and I could concentrate on watching the movement carefully while you were explaining.

Dennis
Dennis

Seems like an efficient way to do the video…but less personable. You have a great personality…don’t underestimate the importance of that when it comes to getting your point across

Patricia
Patricia

I don’t think you can go wrong with any of your video styles. I liked the outdoor setting and I think that will require voice over to control noise. Either way, your videos are very well done and easy to follow–just keep cranking them out, please!

Cheryl
Cheryl

I really liked the look and feel of the new video. I felt like I could really pay attention to your moves and hear what you were saying a bit better with the voice over. I can’t wait to try these, as my back is always so tight.

Adrianna
Adrianna

I like the voice over in this case because you can talk and demonstrate at the same time. It seems less personal and down to earth than some of the others though (at least up until you got to the “bum” comment) so either injecting humor or only doing it when necessary keeps you more personal I think.

Eric Wong

That’s the one thing I miss is the personal feel of the video but if it’s easier to follow then I may incorporate this and actually do a hybrid, where I briefly intro and explain the exercise, then switch to voice-over.

Duncan
Duncan

Voiceover good occasionally, but when you talk to camera it’s more like you’re talking to me, so more engaging. Situational … All good though and great info.

ROBERT
ROBERT

In this case it sounder good. It may not Apple to all exercice when you can address directly to you vie were. Thanks again for sarong.

Ernie
Ernie

Voice-over works fine. I like it.

Robert
Robert

The end product of the video is better for the consumer, and a more professional outcome. More work for you and a better product released

Eric Wong

DAMN! More work for me… 😉

Nick Arcieri
Nick Arcieri

I like this way better. Helps you to get through exercises without interruption.

Fabrice P.
Fabrice P.

Way better with the narration, I am working on boxing instructional videos and we have decided to adopt the narration style as well…Thank you

Tom Breslin
Tom Breslin

Great work Eric. This format is superior to talking doing the demonstration. The voice-over is clearer without the tone modulation in the old format

Jake
Jake

The narration is much better than speaking (in pose). It’s clearer, and more consistent in pronunciation and volume. More professional as well in my opinion. Thank you for all the work you do!

Jake
Jake

So I have ailments from former extreme sports, football, and pitching. I’m a lefty. I have separated my shoulder twice. I have scar tissue in it. I broke my back (compression fracture of T-5/6) and since then have struggled severely from poor posture. I’m naturally a very muscular build (think Brock Lesner). With the amount of mass I have and scar tissue it makes improvement of mobility seem impossible.
These exercises are great for me however, the first exercise my head can’t even get close to a pillow on the ground. I’m wondering if there is a stretch out there that is maybe more intense for this? Thanks for the help! :).
Jake

Eric Wong

Use a half roller or just a firm pillow, Brock, uhh, I mean Jake.

Richard
Richard

Just tried them. The first exercise left me feeling sick for the first 3-4 reps then I felt better. The 2nd exercise seemed okay too. I so need to free up my left shoulder that has been impinged now for 5 months. It is so week and holding me back on a lot training. I will add these to my SFS arsenal.

William Turnbough
William Turnbough

I like the voice over , easy to follow .

Josh Leonard
Josh Leonard

Great video Eric and very clear and concise. I have been suffering with shoulder pain from volleyball and now that the pain is affecting my neck when I sleep I am finally doing something about it.

Is 3 minutes or so the time to spend every day or so on these exercises? How many reps and how often?

Eric Wong

3-7 days/week, I just put the reps in…

Craig Crawshaw
Craig Crawshaw

Like this format of video where you get straight to the action and describe the expected feeling during the demonstration. Easy to understand not so easy to do lol.

Robert Thomas
Robert Thomas

Easy to watch. Not sure about some of the technical names. Also, confused about the first exercise and what not to do in the middle of it, but will figure it out when I get a chance to do the exercise.

James Boutin-Crawford
James Boutin-Crawford

Sound quality is better. Easier to dial into your instructions. Your voice is less strained/effected by your breathing during the exercises. Your tone is calmer/ soothing. It actually helps me to tune you in. Just my opinion. Thx for your time and efforts!

Eric Wong

Cool, thanks for sharing James.

Wayne Eligur
Wayne Eligur

well said!

Wayne Eligur
Wayne Eligur

Voice over is really good! The postures do make the day!

Marti
Marti

This is a fabulous way to present the exercise! I also appreciate the change in view to see the retraction of muscle a bit more clearly.
Excellent Work!
Thanks

Phillip
Phillip

I like the voiceover because you can explain the exercise as you’re doing it. Having said that, I’ve always found how you broke down your other videos clear as well.

Mark
Mark

Erik, I like this video style with voice over. I’m anxious to get going with this because I’ve been suffering for YEARS with chronic pain/restrictions where my left-side lower trapezius meets the rhomboid near the scapula!

Mark Selmi
Mark Selmi

Thank you Eric, this is great! Clear, direct & I don’t have to fast forward through 8 minutes of dialogue in order to watch 2 min of exercises. I appreciate that you’re always searching for new ways to engage your clients.

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