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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

T spine mobility and the RKC core lifts...what does this mean?

So recently I have noticed that people throw around the phrase " T-spine mobility" alot. It's getting used almost as much as "functional" and "core"

At RKC II this weekend I noticed that several candidates knew that they needed better " T-spine mobility" but were doing the wrong drills to address specific needs in certain lifts.

Before I vomit on this thread, some general info should be addressed:

Improper breathing will lead to decreased thoracic mobility in general. Learn to breath diaphragmatically. i.e crocodile breath.

Soft tissue plays a large role is T-spine rotation. Working on trigger points and breathing combined will help tremendously.

Thoracic rotation
Normal rotation is roughly 30 to 35 degrees
The largest amount of rotation is in T6-T7 ( middle of chest area, this area tends to adjust easiest by a chiro )

Drills to perform to restore normal rotation
  • Side lying rib pulls
  • quadruped reach throughs
  • bretzel 1 and 2
  • many more but hit these 1st along with breath/soft tissue
 These are necessary for:
  • TGU- mainly in the high bridge/ windshield wiper portion of the TGU
  • windmill
  • bent press.
Thoracic extension
20-30 degrees is normal
People with kyphosis will have a tough time achieving full extension. People with desk jobs may have a tougher time achieving full extension as well.

Drills to restore t-spine extension
  • Extension drills with foam roller or done segmentally with tennis balls, etc
  • prying extension drills with breath in the post position of the TGU ( naked )
  • anterior/posterior glides
  • several drills from return of the kettlebell
  • There are many more but hit these to start
These are necessary for:
  • Overhead press
  • any of the overhead positions of the TGU
  • clean and jerk
  • push press
  • viking push press
Now, I am not saying that bretzels won't help a clean and jerk or that extension drills done for the windmill are not beneficial. Often times, you need both and many times you need the right tool for the job.

An example is the windmill. Let's say you have full extension available in the T-spine but poor rotation. This means you cannot hinge and rotate properly, rotation may occur in the Lumbar spine and thats generally not good. This is a bad windmill.

Own both rotation and extension of the T-spine, you will lift more and be injured less. That's good right?


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