Don’t get your knickers in a Twist: Thoracic Mobility Drills

Fit4 Physio Sheffield

Thoracic Mobility Drills

The thoracic spine (mid-spine) is really important for almost all functional movement patterns. It’s our central point around which we rotate. It’s also really important to have good mobility through this region for shoulder and upper limb sports like tennis, squash and racketball. Without any thoracic rotation and extension, we’d have very little chance at elevating our shoulders above our head and most likely develop low back pain at some point. Lastly, the thoracic spine tends to get very stiff in office or computer workers so if you find your spine is stiff at the end of the day, the thoracic spine could be to blame!

Take a look at a few of our favourite thoracic mobility drills. And have a play!

Stick or Twist

This is a current favourite! Start in a stride kneeling position and take a broom handle / umbrella / golf club (or anything similar) in each hand. Push with the bottom hand to rotate up and over to the opposite side. Then rotate back to the start position. Repeat at your own pace!

Thread the Needle

Kneeling on all fours, take one hand out to the side and rotate body with it. Keep eyes on your hand. Then rotate the top arm back down and thought the gap under your trunk. If you have a foam roller, you can use this under your hand to assist this part of the stretch. Repeat at your own rhythm

Roller Blades

Start with the roller under your shoulder blades. Roll backwards and take your head and shoulders down towards the floor and also keep your hips on the floor. Hold the position for a few seconds before returning to the start


Lie on your side with knees and hips flexed and arms out in front. Lift your top hand up to the vertical. Keep looking at your hand. Then try to get your shoulder blade to touch the floor whilst keeping your arm vertical (this rotates the upper thoracic spine). Take arm out to the side before reversing the steps (arm back to vertical, shoulder blade back up, arm back to start position)

Fit4-Physio Ltd cannot be held responsible for any problems or injuries that may occur in attempting these exercises. They are generally safe exercises to perform but if you are unsure, please speak to us first before trying!