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.
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).
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.