Last week I had an opportunity to listen to some of the brilliant minds in the industry speak on various issues from barefoot training to corrective exercise. I was able to meet some great strength coaches, physical therapists and athletic trainer including Chase Troescher. Chase actually took some time to work with me on a few mobility exercises. One of my favorite mobility exercises was the lumbar locked thoracic extension exercise.
Physical therapist Gray Cook presents this movement as part of multi – segmental evaluation in the selective functional movement assessment (SFMA) system. The lumbar locked (IR) active and passive rotation and extension assessments evaluates movement at the thorax. Tissue extensibility, joint mobility and stability at the thorax are observed and evaluated when performing a series of rotation and extension movements at the upper spine. In addition, right and left differences can be observed to note any further dysfunction.
Why is this a superior thoracic mobility exercise?
It focuses on the area of concern with limited contribution from the lumbar spine, scapula and shoulder. Anytime we can fix or stabilize the pelvis we can limit the contribution of rotation at the lumbar the spine. In this particular exercise the athlete or client is placed in to a quadruped position resulting in flexion at the hips. In addition, the client is cued to lock their pelvis by placing a medball between their legs and squeezing. The action of squeezing the medball in position of hip flexion limits movement at the lumbar spine. Additionally, by placing the arm behind the back In an internally rotated position, the scapula, chest and anterior shoulder are limited in their contribution to movement. In the end, the reason this exercise is superior is because it limits our ability to cheat.