Getting into an overhead squat takes a massive amount of mobility in your ankles, hip and your thoracic spine. The overhead squat is the ultimate test of mobility. It’s one of the first things I do with my NFL athletes or anyone for that matter because it will tell me so much about how you move and where your mobility is restricted.
I played basketball for 20 years and when I got into crossfit, olympic weightlifting, and true strength and conditioning getting into an overhead position was extremely challenging. I’m not just talking about overhead squats. T Spine Mobility is required in a ton of things:
- Overhead press
- Handstand Holds
- Front/Back Squats
- Good posture (unlike photo below)
If you want to improve your shoulder mobility with my best mobility drills and activations.
Having adequate thoracic mobility is something that just makes you feel better, better posture and ultimately move better. In today’s blog post I’m going to share with you:
- My top 6 thoracic spine mobility exercises to improve overhead position
- T spine mobility drills
- A simple test you can do to access yourself
Why Thoracic Mobility Important
To prevent any additional stress on your body and having adequate range of motion is important. We are always talking about getting your body to be “stacked” which means:
- Rib cage down
- Glute engaged
- No arching in your back (see pictures below)
If you have limited range of motion in your thoracic spine and limited mobility your body has to compensate somewhere….your lower back.
If you keep this up (assuming your lifting overhead) you are going to continue to essentially jam your joints and pinch your lower back and put you at risk for injury.
I’ll show you a step by step process to improve your shoulder mobility below but not in the blog is the serratus wall slides, which is one of my favorite drills as well.
How To Improve
First step is awareness. Are you reading this completely hunched over? Posture up. Chiropractors and adjustments are awesome. But it’s an adjustment. If you continue to get into poor movement patterns you will not change.
So here is what you have to do.
Make mobility a part of your workout routine even if you are working out from home.
*If your t spine mobility isn’t improving then read this blog I wrote that goes into more detail.
Thoracic Mobility Exercises & Drills (My Top 6)
Mobility drills are something that we have our clients do within our training programs every single day. In order to get those most out of performance, stay injury free, and feel good working out you have to have some mobility, recovery, and stretching work programmed into your workouts.
Within our app the “prep” section is dedicated to mobility drills that are targeted for the work that is to come for that workout of the day.
- If the day requires a lot of squats – there would be mobility exercises for hip mobility, ankle dorsiflexion, etc
- If the day requires a lot of deadlifts – there would be mobility exercises for hinging
- If the wod requires a lot of overhead work – there would be mobility exercise for t spine, releasing your lats, triceps, etc
Click the link 👇🏻 and I guide you through my top 6 drills
Thoracic Spine Mobility Test
To test to see if you have adequate thoracic spine mobility there are a couple of different ways we can test your mobility.
Perform an overhead squat (does not need to be performed with a barbell) and if your arms fall forward it could be your t spine.
This is a good mobility drill to start to retrain your overhead squat patterns.
This is tough for me too. Ideally my lower back would be pressed in harder to the wall and I could have my thumbs directly in line with my shoulders.
Test #2 (Photo above)
- Sit on the ground with your upper back on the wall and your legs extended out in front of you.
- Press your lower back into the wall
- Raise your hands overhead and get the back of your hands to touch the wall
To improve your thoracic mobility you have to have awareness, be consistent, and do the drills before and after you workout. Today I shared with you top 5 thoracic drills/exercises that I do so give them a shot!
Remember to spend about 2 minutes in each exercise so you give your body enough to relax and not irritate the area. If your mobility isn’t improving, read this.
Keep training hard 🤙🏻
If you just want a program to follow that gives you a total comprehensive approach (mobility, warm up, core, strength, corrective exercises) and join an awesome community then join the K Squared Fitness family!!
You can take our fitness app for a spin this week. To learn more check out this page.
Other Fitness Tips
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you increase your thoracic spine spine mobility?
Step one is having awareness of your posture. Are you hunched over? Change that. And you can do that by doing a few things...
...mobility work COUPLED with strengthening your upper back.
One other tip. If you JUST stretch and do not strengthen the end range of motion, your mobility will not improve. You want to foam roll, stretch the restricted muscle, strengthen and activate the end range of motion.
How do I loosen my t spine?
Get on that foam roller and go to work. Work on extension, rotation, have a "peanut" for mobility and strengthen your upper back.
By far my favorite t spine mobility drill (most people don't want to do this one) is:
- tape two lacross balls together
- put the balls right in your t spine area
- grab a 45lb weight plate and put it on your chest
- then work on extension
Like this but with two lacrosse balls.
If you have any additional questions leave them in the comments below and I'm happy to help!