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Thoracic Spine Strengthening

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Thoracic strengthening exercises

Thoracic Spine Strengthening | Top 5 Thoracic Strengthening Exercises

Heneghan et al. (2018) have shown that subjects who sit more than 7 hours a day and who are physically active for less than 150 minutes a week exhibit reduced thoracic mobility. 

A review by Joshi et al. (2019) has found that increased thoracic kyphosis was positively correlated with the presence of forward head posture. Although thoracic mobility was reduced in the neck pain population, posture was not uniformly associated with neck pain and disability.

So while posture might not have a correlation with pain, literature shows that:– It may be associated with psychological issues such as depression and chronic fatigue (Wilkes et al. 2017) and mental health is generally a negative prognostic factor for recovery in many musculoskeletal disorders.– Furthermore, an increased kyphosis limits overhead mobility (Barrett et al. 2016) and may therefore limit your patient’s ability to carry out certain sports efficiently

In the following we will show you our 5 favorite exercises to mobilize the thoracic spine:

  1. Squat with kettlebell overhead
  2. Front squats and overhead squats
  3. Wall/Floor angels
  4. Y-lifts (on a ball, but also standing)
  5. Prone lying lifts with a stick

If you really want to change posture, it’s equally important to mobilize the thoracic spine. Check out our top 5 thoracic mobility exercises.



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Heneghan NR, Baker G, Thomas K, Falla D, Rushton A. What is the effect of prolonged sitting and physical activity on thoracic spine mobility? An observational study of young adults in a UK university setting. BMJ open. 2018 May 1;8(5):e019371.

Cho J, Lee E, Lee S. Upper thoracic spine mobilization and mobility exercise versus upper cervical spine mobilization and stabilization exercise in individuals with forward head posture: a randomized clinical trial. BMC musculoskeletal disorders. 2017 Dec;18(1):1-0.

Joshi S, Balthillaya G, Neelapala YR. Thoracic posture and mobility in mechanical neck pain population: A review of the literature. Asian spine journal. 2019 Oct;13(5):849.

Wilkes C, Kydd R, Sagar M, Broadbent E. Upright posture improves affect and fatigue in people with depressive symptoms. Journal of behavior therapy and experimental psychiatry. 2017 Mar 1;54:143-9.

Barrett E, O’Keeffe M, O’Sullivan K, Lewis J, McCreesh K. Is thoracic spine posture associated with shoulder pain, range of motion and function? A systematic review. Manual therapy. 2016 Dec 1;26:38-46.

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