Use This Mobility Exercise to Loosen Your Upper Back

Is your upper back tight? Do you have trouble rotating your torso?  These issues are very common and can make it extremely difficult in maintaining the health of your shoulders and hips as well as achieving peak performance in the weight room.

Some common solutions:

  • Soft tissue work (Lax Ball or Foam Roller) on upper back
  • Mobility exercise such as T-spine extensions as demonstrated in the video below:

Both are good and appropriate suggestions, but I find that many people apply too much pressure or don’t adequately hit the main soft tissue limitations during the bodywork portion.  Additionally they may have poor thoracic control and can’t actually get the spine to move without the ribs going along for the ride.  This is where the need for a different type of mobility exercise should come in to play and take away the possibility of user error or lack of body control.

Enter the Thoracic Spine Roller Twisters.

My good friend and mentor, Perry Nickelston, showed me this drill a couple of years ago.  Since then I’ve had incredible success using this with clients and I know it will help you as well.  See below:

Who Should Do It:

While I use this primarily with a client who has a tight upper back, it’s also beneficial for a client that has a limited ability to rotate their upper back.  If you’re an athlete, this drill is perfect as a warm-up/activation as it will help drive more optimal function.

Why Should You Do It:

Tightness in the upper/mid back limits ability to create adequate dynamic rotation.  This will lead to increased rotation, compensating through the hips and low back and could likely decrease the efficiency of movement and at times, performance.


Sets, Reps, Etc..

Sets: 2

Reps: 10/side

Frequency: As close to daily as possible as part of your warm-up.

Using Exercises to Increase Performance

Do you know why your program is set up how it is?  Simply exercising and sweating won’t automatically yield the results you are looking for.  Each and every exercise that you have in your program, from the warm-up to the workout, should have a purpose and not just thrown in as a filler.

On June 21st, my Insider Community will receive my latest newsletter explaining what a properly designed fitness program should look like and give explanations on why.  If you want to be sure your workouts are effective and done with the most efficient use of your time, join below!



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