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Movement Vault Mobility Follow-Along: The Shoulders and T-spine

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Welcome to this six-week series brought to you exclusively by Whole Life Challenge in partnership with Movement Vault. Each week, Dr. Grayson Wickham (physical therapist) will guide you through a new mobility routine. These practices are simply one of the many ways you can accomplish your daily mobility, and are intended to help you explore both your body’s potential and the world of movement.

Today’s Movement Vault flexibility and mobility routine focuses on our shoulders and thoracic spine (our upper back). We all spend a lot of time sitting and staring down at our phones. This leads to a rounded upper back, as well as tight and rounded shoulders. This routine will help you undo that tightness.

This routine is great for increasing the mobility in the shoulders and thoracic spine, and will help you get into better positions such as: overhead presses, push-ups, handstands, pull-ups, jerks, and snatches, to name a few. Even if those aren’t exercises you’re working to improve, you can likely benefit from less pain and tension in your upper body. And we guarantee you will feel amazing after performing this routine.

Movement Vault Mobility Follow-Along: The Shoulders and T-spine

Equipment needed:

  1. Foam roller
  2. Padded mat

We’ll start with a joint mobilization using a foam roller to increase our thoracic spine extension. This technique will help undo your rounded upper back. Focus on keeping your abs engaged and hinging your back on the foam roller. Perform three 5-second holds per spinal level (that will make sense when you watch the video).

Next, we’ll move to an activation/stretch that focuses on moving each individual vertebrate in your back and torso in a rotational or circular motion. This move takes a lot of focus to engage all the muscles around your torso. Perform 1 minute per direction.

The next two movements will be performed back to back in a super set fashion. The shoulder movement focuses on bringing our shoulder through its absolute full range of motion and activates all of the muscles around the shoulder. We will perform 5 circles per direction, per side.

The last movement is about increasing our thoracic rotation. Focus on engaging and rotating as much as possible. Perform five 10-second holds per side.

Movement Vault

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Dr. Grayson Wickham, PT, DPT, CSCS
Dr. Grayson Wickham is a Doctor of Physical Therapy, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, and founder of Movement Vault. He is obsessed with anything and everything related to flexibility, mobility, training, increasing performance, decreasing injury risk, and recovery.

He has a physical therapy practice in New York City and works with professional athletes competing in the NFL, MLB, tennis, and CrossFit, as well as those beginning their fitness journey. Dr. Grayson focuses on a preventative approach. He estimates 90% of the patients/athletes who come in to his clinic with injuries could have avoided these injuries through proactive flexibility and mobility work. This was the catalyst that led him to create Movement Vault.

Movement Vault helps users increase their flexibility and mobility, ultimately decreasing injury risk and increasing performance in life and in the gym. Movement Vault offers users a new fifteen-minute video routine every day, in which users can stream videos from any device, at any time. You can get a free seven-day trial at Movement Vault.