Up and Over – Isolating Thoracic Flexion

Maintaining space and length in the spine during thoracic flexion is a challenge.  Teaching a client to do the same is even more difficult.  When the exercise calls for the client to reach over straight legs (either seated or standing), ask them to imagine a beach ball is placed right at the crux of the hips.  Then ask them to curve their spine up and over the beach ball.  This emphasizes that the hips should not hinge and that the lumbar remains long as the thoracic spine curves up and over the ball. Once thoracic mobility improves, this cue will facilitate the client’s attaining the desired “U” shape at the end of the movement.

Another thing to note is that if you happen to have an appropriately sized ball in your studio, using this as a prop to physically illustrate this cue is incredibly helpful.


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