This Will Make You Better: Quadruped Thoracic Rotation

My best guess is that you’re sitting down while you read these words.  You’re at home, commuting, or at work.  You’re likely conforming to the seat back, or slouched forward.  Yes?

I’m not passing judgement, for I’m doing it as well.  We’re completely comfortable here, and there isn’t anything wrong with it, unless we start to look at what’s optimal.  Sitting on our butts all day isn’t exactly the most body-friendly thing we can do, unless we’re listing Quasimodo as our aesthetic inspiration.


That static posture is important, but it’s less important than the positions we find ourselves in under external load.  Movement is essential for everything we do, but we need to be a little bit pickier about it.  Moving well can make you feel like a super hero, but moving poorly can really mess things up.

Let’s take a look at an awesome exercise that focuses on improving mobility in the thoracic spine, the Quadruped Thoracic Rotation:

Get down on all fours in that quadruped position, sink your hips towards your heels, and place one hand behind your head.  From here, we keep our eyes on our elbow while we rotate it towards the ceiling.  Take a breath while you’re up there.  As you look at it, it’s pretty damn simple, right?  Let’s hit some Key Points.

Hand position can vary based on what feels the most comfortable.  You can use your hand or your elbow for feedback on your grounded side, but I’d suggest using both of them to find which experience is more suitable for what you need.

The turn shouldn’t feel like you’re racing NASCAR.  It doesn’t have to be all that fast, and in fact I’d actually prefer a slower rotation than the one I’m demonstrating.  Furthermore, if it’s actually like NASCAR in the sense that you can only turn one way, that’s something to focus on.  A car that can only turn left isn’t going to be very useful on normal roads.

Breathe, damn it!  Breathing can have a major impact on the effects we get from our exercise.  If our breathing is natural, it can have incredible calming effects.  If we’re breathing like we’re being chased by Zombies, then it’s not likely it’ll help you relax, and it can actually stress you out.  I don’t think that’s what you’re looking for, is it?

The quadruped thoracic rotation can be a magical movement to help you find mobility in your upper back, breathe more comfortably, and prepare for almost any activity.  Sequence it in the beginning of your warm-up, after any breath work or positional resets.  It can also be used as a “reset” activity between sets of strength based exercises.

Furthermore, if you’re having a stressful day, you can use it for some angsty fist pounding: 


Using the Quadruped Thoracic Rotation or Quad T-Twist in your warm-up can be great for helping you to find that calming breath while creating desirable movement in your upper back.  It’s simple and can help you get stronger and sexier.

Bottom line?  This Will Make You Better.

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