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Thoracic Bridge

Thoracic Bridge

The Thoracic Bridge is a highly effective exercise that targets the thoracic spine, also known as the upper and mid-back region. This exercise is great for improving flexibility, stability, and overall mobility of the spine. With regular practice, it can help alleviate back pain, improve posture, and enhance athletic performance. The Thoracic Bridge involves moving into a side plank position and then rotating the torso, opening up the chest towards the ceiling while keeping the hips lifted. This movement creates a deep stretch along the entire side of your body, increasing the range of motion in the thoracic spine. What makes the Thoracic Bridge so beneficial is that it targets multiple muscle groups simultaneously. It engages the core muscles, including the obliques and transverse abdominis, to stabilize the body. Additionally, it activates the glutes, shoulders, and the muscles of the upper back, promoting strength and stability in these areas. When performing the Thoracic Bridge, it's essential to focus on proper form and control. Take it slow and steady, allowing your body to gradually progress in flexibility and stability. Remember to breathe deeply throughout the movement, which helps to promote relaxation and aids in deepening the stretch. Incorporating the Thoracic Bridge into your workout routine can be highly beneficial, especially if you spend long hours sitting or have poor posture. Adding this exercise to your repertoire can help counteract the negative effects of prolonged sitting, improve overall spinal health, and contribute to better body mechanics in your daily activities. So go ahead and give the Thoracic Bridge a try – your back will thank you!

Instructions

  • Start by sitting on the floor with your legs extended straight out in front of you.
  • Bend your left leg and place your left foot on the ground, with your left knee pointing towards the ceiling.
  • Place your left hand flat on the floor behind you, fingers pointing towards your left foot.
  • Reach your right arm straight up towards the ceiling.
  • Press your left hand into the ground and lift your hips off the floor, coming into a bridge position.
  • Extend your right arm over your head and towards the ground, reaching for the floor behind you.
  • Keep your hips lifted and your left hand pressing into the ground for support.
  • Hold this position for a few seconds, focusing on opening up through your chest and upper back.
  • Slowly lower your hips back down to the ground, returning to the starting position.
  • Repeat the exercise on the other side, bending your right leg and placing your right foot on the ground, with your right knee pointing towards the ceiling.
  • Place your right hand flat on the floor behind you, fingers pointing towards your right foot.
  • Reach your left arm straight up towards the ceiling.
  • Press your right hand into the ground and lift your hips off the floor, coming into a bridge position.
  • Extend your left arm over your head and towards the ground, reaching for the floor behind you.
  • Keep your hips lifted and your right hand pressing into the ground for support.
  • Hold this position for a few seconds, focusing on opening up through your chest and upper back.
  • Slowly lower your hips back down to the ground, returning to the starting position.

Tips & Tricks

  • Master proper thoracic extension to ensure optimal form and mobility.
  • Engage your core muscles throughout the exercise to improve stability and control.
  • Focus on breathing deeply and maintaining a relaxed but active breath throughout the movement.
  • Start with a modified version of the thoracic bridge, using a prop or support until you build enough strength and flexibility.
  • Gradually increase the duration of the thoracic bridge hold for better endurance.
  • Incorporate thoracic bridge variations, such as adding leg lifts or reaching overhead, to challenge your body in different ways.
  • Perform thoracic mobility exercises, like foam rolling or cat-cow stretches, as part of your warm-up to prep your spine for the bridge.
  • Listen to your body and don't push beyond your limits. Take breaks if needed and progress at your own pace.
  • Work on your shoulder flexibility to improve the bridge position.
  • Aim for balance on both sides of the body by practicing the thoracic bridge on your non-dominant side as well.

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