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Mobility through the thoracic spine is important in many sports because it allows force transfer through the upper body. Many skills in hockey, golf, tennis, baseball and football require this twisting motion through the upper spine.

If mobility is lacking in the thoracic spine the lower back is forced to compensate. Imagine a slap shot where the lower back had to rotate to enable the upper body swing through the shot fully. What would the outcome be? That’s right — injury would soon follow. There are many examples in daily life where this kind of lower back compensation is needed to perform everyday mundane tasks.

A great exercise to ensure the thoracic spine can move freely without lower back compensation is the glute bridge and reach. To perform this exercise, lie down on your back with feet on the floor and knees at 90 degrees. In one motion, raise your hips up into a glute bridge and simultaneously reach one arm across the opposite shoulder so you touch the floor with your hand. Repeat on the other side. Remember to keep the lower back stable and to produce the reach movement from the upper spine only.

Exercises like these will not only improve sports performance but also protect your spine from injury in life generally.

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