Exercise Spotlight: Thoracic Extensions

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If you're like many Canadians, you spend a large portion of your day sitting down in an office chair. This hunched over position takes a toll on your spine over time and leads to poor posture. Good posture isn't just something your grandma talked about--it's something that allows all the interconnected parts of our body to move in a healthy, effective way. In other words, it means better workouts and less aches 'n' pains! 

Thoracic Mobility

Okay, so proper posture is a good thing, but how can we work to improve it? Enter thoracic mobility. Thoracic mobility involves improving our range of motion in the thoracic spine (not to be confused with the Jurassic spine). This area of the spine involves the middle back spanning from just below the neck to about the bottom of the rib cage. For many of us desk-jockeys, this area of our spine is in flexion (i.e. hunched over) most of the day, which leads to bad mobility in this area. Luckily, there are exercises that can help us regain the mobility that was taken by our computer overlords.

Thoracic Extensions

One such exercise is the thoracic extension. Naturally, if our thoracic spine is stuck in flexion all day, we can make it do the exact opposite: extension. That's the idea behind this exercise.

Thoracic extensions are performed as follows:

  1. Lie down and place a foam roller under your thoracic spine
  2. Place your hands on the back of your head and bring your elbows close together
  3. Keep your butt on the ground and gently arch your back over the foam roller, using it as a hinge
  4. Repeat 3-4 times

This is a stretch for your thoracic spine, so avoid moving your lumbar spine (lower back) and neck excessively during this exercise. For all you visual learners out there, here is a great video that explains the movement.

Remember, form is extremely important with an exercise like this, so it's always a good idea to talk to a professional before giving it a try.


Interested in more ways to improve the health of your spine? Contact Downsview Chiropractic today and we'll share our expertise with you. As experts in chiropractic care, massage therapy, and naturopathy, we can help you start moving and feeling your best.

Dr. Joel Weisberg is the Clinic Director and Principal Doctor at Downsview Chiropractic The difference it makes to a patient when they learn, receive appropriate care, feel cared for, and are empowered to self-manage, is often bigger than the relief they were seeking. Dr. Weisberg is driven to make that difference to people in their pursuit of a life lived well™.