Side Lying Thoracic Rotations

Posted on 09 Dec 2011 02:29

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The side lying thoracic rotation exercise is one of only a few mobility exercises that specifically address thoracic rotations. Technically more of a "stretch" than a mobility movement, it can nonetheless be used as part of a general mobility program.

Mobility Category


Side Lying Thoracic Rotation Explanation

1. Lie down on your right side.

2. Bend your left knee in front of you to 90 degrees and rest it on the floor or support the knee with a form roller, rolled up towels, or other object (not shown in video).

3. Extend both arms in front of you at shoulder level, palms together.

4. Without allowing your left knee to move off the floor or support, raise your left arm and reach back across the body to touch the floor behind you by rotating the mid and upper body only and keeping the lower back in a fixed position. The goal is for both the arm and upper back to lie flat on the floor in this rotated position.

5. Hold that stretched position for a second.

6. Slowly and in a controlled manner, bring your left arm back and touch your right hand lying before you.

7. Do this for a few more repetitions.

8. Turn around and lie down on your left side and repeat the procedure using your right hand to reach back behind you

Side Lying T-Rotations Demonstration Video

Special Notes

  • It is important to keep your shoulder in line with your body when bringing your arm back to the floor. Do not use shoulder abduction instead of thoracic rotation. The goal is not to bring the arm back, but to rotate the upper spine.
  • It is important that the lower back remain in its same position and that you do not use lumbar rotation to complete the movement
  • The total range of rotation of the thoracic spine is about 35 to 40 degrees. Not all the vertebral segments, T1-T12, are equally mobile in this regard.


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