A Tight Back May Hurt Your Performance and Health

Suffering from a tight back? Try this thoracic spine mobility routine from STACK Expert Tammy Kovaluk.

Sore Back

Are you strong in the weight room, but fail to live up to expectations on the field? If so, you may have an immobile T-spine.

The T-spine (short for thoracic spine) refers to your mid- and upper-back. This area is designed to be mobile so your upper body and shoulders can move freely. The thoracic spine helps you efficiently transfer power from your core to drive upper body movements, such as throwing, swinging and pushing.

Sitting in a chair for hours at a time (like during school) can cause your thoracic spine to become immobile. You won't be able to freely rotate your upper body when performing your skills. This can decrease power and potentially impair your mechanics. Also, probably your lower back is mobilized (it should be stable), increasing your risk of low-back pain and an overuse injury.

Thoracic Spine Mobility Routine


  • Perform the following three exercises in circuit fashion at the beginning of your dynamic warm-up.
  • Do two to three sets of six to 10 reps of each exercise.
  • If you find that your left or right side is less mobile, do twice as many reps on that side until it equalizes.

Side Lying Rotation

Increases thoracic spine mobility and opens up tight chest muscles.

Wall-Seated Shoulder Press

Helps maintain shoulder range of motion and scapula mobility; also prevents forward rounding of the shoulders.

Kneeling Reach-Backs

Loosens the big muscles of the T-spine that restrict rotation.

These exercises may seem tedious, but remember, power won't help you if you can't use it. This routine only takes a few minutes before your workout, but it will pay real dividends in the form of improvements on the field.

Read more:

Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock