TRX Thoracic Rotation

I’m counting yesterday as “Snowy Saturday”, so let us call today “Supple Sunday”.  It may or not become a regular thing.  Let’s go.

Corrective exercise is sexy right now.   As a movement geek, I love hearing about this stuff.  Sahrmann is the Oscar Wilde of her time, Movement is religious text, and my idea of a weekend getaway is squatting in the morning then snuggling up with a marble notebook and watching Weingroff’s DVD.  These guys can turn whine into good movement, if not water into wine.  That all sounds really hot, right?


In the dogmatic training world, we tend to forget that people don’t live and die by their FMS score.  If you don’t move as well as someone thinks you should move, you’re not allowed to do any “training”, and you’re stuck doing “correctives” all day.  Trainers think, “Oh, I’m so good, correctives fix movement deficiency!”  Clients think, “WTF, am I broken?  How does this relate to my goals?”  Half of the time when a ‘corrective’ strategy is introduced, it makes them feel like this:


When it comes to learning, the worst thing that you can do is make somebody feel uncomfortable or as if they’re going to fail.  Anticipating failure isn’t a good feeling, but anticipating success?  That’s something we can all get behind.  When it comes to thoracic spine mobility drills, most exercises will make the ‘new’ trainee feel pretty ridiculous.  This happens far less with the TRX Rotation.

I like using the TRX for thoracic rotations because it’s cue friendly and tends to simplify the movement.  We’ll fully lengthen the straps and set someone up in a the sport position of their choice, depending on their sport.  (It is the universal athletic position, after all.)  From there, I’ll cue them to keep tension on the T-ReX handles as they reach towards the wall/ceiling/light fixture or other arbitrary external focal point that creates the desired movement.  Here’s an example from yours truly:

In a ‘perfect’ world, the only movement would be from the thoracic spine, like a V-22 as it transitions from take-off to transit*.   You’ll notice that my hips are moving to-and-fro a wee bit;  it’s my inner Bubba Watson** peeking out.  I would cue and prefer quiet hips, but the world doesn’t end if they move.  Outside of T-spine mobility drills, there are few activities where you’ll actually be isolating movement to specific segments of the spine, or body as a whole.

The TRX Thoracic Rotation allows you to create movement through the mid-back, include the shoulder (blades) in the process, and is extremely user friendly.  Most people learn it relatively quickly, and with smart cuing, anyone can do it.  It also wins on the awkwardness-reduction scale.

If you ask someone to lay down, spoon a foam roller, and then reach a hand behind them, they might feel like they’re rolling around with a pool noodle, or posing for a photo-shoot.  The TRX rotation is more comfortable for those who would prefer to avoid getting up and down off the ground, and since the set-up is easy-peasy, they’ll spend less time feeling silly.

Most gyms have TRX’s now, so finding them is easy***.  Lengthen the handles, set yourself up, and get to rotating.

  • * That’s a VTOL joke for ya’ll who like airplanez.
  • ** Here comes golf season!
  • *** If your gym doesn’t have a TRX remind them that they should, or pick up your own right here.


18 Replies to “TRX Thoracic Rotation”

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