If you checked out last weeks article and followed my advice, you'll probably notice massive positive changes in your overall movement patterns and general well being. I can't stress enough how important it is to increase the range of motion of your hips as it will quite literally affect how your body functions as a whole.
Although everyone seems to now know that the hip flexors are tight and require stretching, nobody really pays focuses on the upper body. Honestly, how often do you see someone stretching their upper body? 99% of the time when you're lucky enough to come across someone who actually pays some attention to upper body flexibility, they end up focusing solely on stretching out the chest.
Although many individuals need to work on lengthening both the pec minor and major, they aren't addressing a much more pressing issue...
The T-Spine (or Thoracic Spine) runs from about the middle of your back to just under your neck and plays a huge role in all upper body movement. It not only has the important role of movement in all planes, but also dictates the "health" of the all important scapula.
Unfortunately for most, their t-spine tends to be extremely immobile which leads to problems seen both above and below this segment of the spine. Cervical problems, shoulder problems, lower back problems...and can stem from having lack of mobility in the t-spine.
So let's talk about fixing it...
I have a very intimate relationship with t-spine immobility due to a past bout with forward head posture (FHP). FHP is when the head is "pushed" forward of the body and tends to cause neck pain, and generally make the individual look a bit like a vulcher.
Taller individuals have a higher incidence of FHP and therefore being 6'3" made it all too easy for me to round my back in order to look down at my midget friends and family. I spent a ton of time trying to consciously correct the issue by tucking the chin and trying to move the head backwards. This sounds like it would make sense but the result was nothing short of painful.
After researching the issue I pinpointed the problem as lack of extension at the thoracic spine. I then spend hours performing t-spine extensions on the foam rollers and even using two taped tennis balls. Nothing really changed...that is until I taped two lacrosse balls together and performed extensions very frequently.
In less than a week many were noticing massive changes in my posture. As for performance in the gym, overhead pressing became much easier due to the scapula being in a much more "efficient" position.
The following video is exactly what I did on a regular basis...
Buy two lacrosse balls and perform this as many times throughout the day as you can afford. It makes a huge difference which you will notice immediately after performing the drill.
Make sure to start at the beginning of the t-spine, and go all the way up!
One word of caution: The first time you use the lacrosse balls, it may feel a bit tender!