This stretch is what’s called a “thoracic spine mobilization.” Because many of us spend our days at our desks, our bodies become good at being hunched forward, so an exercise like the one demonstrated in this video can help to reverse that chronic desk-jockey position and release tension and pain from your upper back.
You will need one tool for this stretch. I use an average-size foam roller, but you can use a smaller or larger one or even just roll up a towel. I will show you how to modify the intensity of this stretch in the video so it can help you regardless of your current flexibility level. Bonus: I will also show you a variation of this stretch that requires no equipment at all.
You goal is to spend ten minutes working on this position. Move to a level where you experience slight discomfort, but never to the point of pain. Remember, you’ve been practicing being immobile every day for a long time now, so it’s going to take gradual daily practice to reverse that.
Andy is what you’d call a modern day Renaissance Man: a former professional trumpeter who attended the Eastman School of Music; a snowboarder, mountain biker, surfer, kayaker, outrigger paddler, mountaineer, and former Marine (Gulf War veteran); a professionally sponsored adventure racer; and the oldest participant to qualify for and participate in the CrossFit Games at the age of 43.
Andy is a certified CHEK Practitioner and holistic lifestyle coach. He holds a spectrum of certifications from CrossFit and is also a Vivobarefoot certified running coach. He has trained as a Zen buddhist and graduated with a Master’s degree in spiritual psychology from the University of Santa Monica.
Andy founded CrossFit LA one of the first and most successful CrossFit training centers in the world and the first to be featured in national media. He is the co-founder of the Whole Life Challenge, Inc, currently its president, and is also a consultant and life/business coach. Andy lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Julia, and son, Dashel.