The Thoracic Spine Crunch Exercise stretches and helps to improve mobility in your torso, specifically your thoracic spine – your middle and upper back.
Thoracic spine mobility is an extremely important, and often times overlooked, component of a great golf swing.
Poor thoracic mobility can very easily lead to pain and increase the potential for injuries in the shoulders, neck, lower back, and hips. Unfortunately, our daily habits and posture make us all very prone to poor thoracic spine mobility.
This exercise requires a “peanut” made by taping two tennis balls together – see Figure 1.
Figure 2. Thoracic Spine Crunch Exercise Video.
- Start by lying on your back with the peanut (see above) under your spine, just above your lower back, and your hands behind your head.
- Crunch your torso, pulling your chest and pelvis together to flex your spine and lift your shoulders slightly off the ground, using the peanut as a pivot point.
- Slowly return to the starting position, extending your thoracic spine around the peanut.
- Repeat for 3 or 4 repetitions.
- Move the peanut up your spine by one vertebral segment and repeat.
- Continue moving the peanut up and repeating until the peanut is just above your shoulder blades and below the baser of your neck.
Keep your abdominal muscles engaged and do not allow any movement in your lower back or hips throughout this movement.
This may be a little painful at first, it’s like getting a deep sports massage in your middle and upper back. As your mobility improves it will become easier.
How Will It Benefit Your Golf Swing?
The Thoracic Spine Crunch Exercise is great for keeping your spine mobile and helping to reduce stiffness in your back.
Spine mobility is crucial for a good golf swing. It enables you to maintain proper posture throughout the swing, and to rotate your body safely and efficiently.
Developing poor posture or stiffness in your back will reduce your ability to rotate properly and will alter your swing mechanics, leading to faulty swing patterns and increased risk of injury.
For more information on the perfect golf posture, see Golf Swing 101 – Setup: Basic Posture and Golf Swing 103 – Setup: The Perfect Golf Spine Angle.
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