Top 3 Thoracic Mobility Stretches

BOSIC Specials

By Physiotherapist, Vanessa Boon

Our thoracic spine, which is the midsection of our back, is responsible for most of our movement in our midsections. Having good thoracic mobility is key for good posture, overhead movements, and many other sports. Long hours of work and poor posture can lead to increased stiffness =  poor movement  = injury, discomfort, and possibly poorer sporting performance. Here are my top 4 mobility exercises to keep your thoracic mobility in check! 

1. Segmental thoracic extension 

How to: 

  • Roll up a towel and place it on the floor across the area you will lie on. 
  • Lie on your back with the towel positioned underneath and across your upper back. 
  • Relax in this position, allowing your arms to drop out to the side and your chest to open up, stretching your upper back over the towel. 
  • Remain here for 30 seconds
  • Move the towel down to the next segment of your upper back, and repeat.
  • Note: when this stretch becomes easy with a rolled up towel, you can progress to using a foam roller. 

2. Book Openers

How to: 

  • Lay on your side with the bottom leg straight and the top leg bent.
  • Reach your arms out in front of you, with your hands together. 
  • Rotate the upper arm upwards and outwards from your trunk. 
  • Try to rotate as far as you can, without forcing the shoulder. 
  • Hold this position for 2×30 seconds on each side.

3. Thread the Needle

How to: 

  • Start in 4 point kneeling
  • Your hands should be under your shoulders and your hips over your knees. 
  • Take one hand off the floor and reach in and through between your other hand and leg on that side. 
  • Allow your shoulder and head to follow, moving down towards the floor as your hand reaches through. 
  • Allow your back to twist, you should feel a stretch down your side, your shoulder blade and neck. 
  • Hold this position for 2×30 seconds and repeat on the other side. 

These are my top 3 thoracic mobility stretches. If you would like a mobility program tailored to you, give us a call at 8599 9811 or book in here.

I constantly roll my ankles – What is going on?

By Physiotherapist, Vanessa Boon

Why do I keep hurting my ankles?

Poor balance = Increased risk of recurrent ankle sprains

Why?

When you injure the ligaments in your ankle, your proprioceptive ability is impaired/reduced. Proprioception refers to the awareness of your body part in space.  The most common symptom of impaired/reduced proprioception is poor balance. This is why you may feel unstable after an ankle sprain.

The best types of exercises to do post ankle sprain or to prevent an ankle sprain are balance or proprioceptive exercises. Most fitness programs tend to focus more on strength and cardiovascular training leaving out balance. Here are some exercises to incorporate into your training routine to minimise risk of ankle injuries!

What can I do? – 5 exercises

For these exercises (not including the 5:5:10) you have the option of doing them on a folded towel, a cushion, a balance disc, or a Bosu ball. This depends on what you have access to and the difficulty factor (doing the exercise on a folded towel is much easier than the Bosu ball).

An unstable surface, such as a towel or cushion, teaches your body to react to unpredictable movements, retraining your balance and proprioception. The goal is for your body to react to these unpredictable movements subconsciously, decreasing the feeling of instability.

  1. Stand feet together
    – 5 x 30 seconds
    – Start with eyes open, when it gets too easy progress exercise by closing your eyes
  2. Single leg stance
    5 x 30 seconds
    – Start with eyes open, when it gets too easy, progress exercise by closing your eyes
  3. Squat
    – 3 x 15 repetitions
    – Start with holding onto something for support, progress exercise by doing it unsupported
  4. Mini single leg squat
    – 3 x 15 repetitions
    – Start with holding onto something for support, progress exercise by doing it unsupported
  5. 5:5:10
    – This exercise requires a power band and something stable to anchor it onto
    – 5 minutes, 5 days a week, for 10 weeks

 

Something to remember

When you’re prescribed antibiotics, you finish the whole course even if your symptoms have improved. Physiotherapy is much the same. Just because your pain is gone – doesn’t mean the issue is resolved and won’t come back!

Head over to our Instagram page for some videos on acute ankle sprain exercises. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to send me an email at vanessa@bosic.com.au. Otherwise, you can also contact our admin team at 8599 9811.

*Please keep in mind, these are general guidelines for the majority of our patients but it is important to consult with your doctor or physiotherapist first and make sure you have a plan tailored specifically for you.

 

Show your sides some love! All about obliques

By Physiotherapist, Nate Chan

The Importance of Obliques

Many of you know but our muscles are designed to be challenged. Our obliques (side core muscles) are built to resist spinal and pelvic rotation. Due to this reason, it is pivotal for athletes to challenge our obliques either under load, tension or velocity (speed). For field athletes, we use the ground to push off and generate power and speed. This transfers energy up the kinetic chain (our body) from the lower extremities to our torso and upper body. However, if we lose stability in our torso/trunk there will be an energy leakage in the kinetic chain, our body. 

Our core muscles, including the oblique muscles stabilise the midsection of the body, allowing our upper and lower extremity muscles to move (lengthen), in turn generate force/power. For field athletes we can increase our cadence (amount of steps per minute). However, we change many other factors to improve your speed, running time or agility. By working on our core strength, we will be better able to keep upright, reduce knee valgus (knees caving inwards) and ultimately increase speed whilst mitigating the risk of injury. 

No matter if we are attempting to change direction, sprint towards the ball, or prepare for a jump, improving core stability and running/jumping techniques is mandatory to optimising our performance. Incorporating various core exercises will help achieve personal bests and a deciding factor in games. 

All these exercises have several benefits other than just working out the core. These are great for unilateral (one sided) abdominal work. Working on one side of the body can help address any muscular imbalances in your muscles, joints and tendons. It’s the same as any other exercises, with lunges primarily working on one side as opposed to a standard squat. All three can be used as a movement preparation/warm up drills, anti-rotation core stability work, and sports specific movement sequencing.

 

1. Side planks (progression: hip dip, rotation)

2. Woodchoppers (progression: tall kneeling,½ kneeling)

3. Pallof Press (progression: tall kneeling,½ kneeling)

4. KB walks unilateral (progression lunges)

5. Bird dog +/- band (progression: standing

6. Med ball rotation toss (progression: plyos)

7. Oblique side crunch (progression: standing w/ wt)

 

Need more exercise ideas? Follow along with Barangaroo Physio on Instagram and Facebook (@barangarooclinic)! We post TONS of workout tips and we host live workouts 5 days a week. 

 

Why is Single leg sit to stand an important exercise for runners?

By Physiotherapist, Paulina Backiel

 

Single Leg Sit-to-Stand for Runners

 

You may have heard from one of your physios of the exercise called the “sit to stand.”

 

It’s a very standard exercise where you are told to stand up from a regular height chair properly then asked to sit back down – slow and controlled – without flopping back into the chair. Then the physio starts progressing the exercise until they tell you to do the same but on a single leg.

 

So why are they telling you to get up off a chair with one leg and sit back down? How is this practical? When are you ever going to have to get up then sit back down using one leg? They keep talking about this magic 22 number (read on to find out what this is!) but what does it mean?

 

Here is why:

 

  • Running Biomechanics – 

When we run we are always on one leg, never two. So, if you cannot withstand holding your own weight doing a single leg sit to stand how are you supposed to handle 1km of it? Sure, it requires a bit more muscle strength to get out of a chair since you have to get into a lower squat than while running, but this will just make you a more resilient runner.

 

  • Injury Prevention –  

If you are running with your knee caving in or your hip out or dipping this can lead to injury in the future. By doing a simple single leg sit to stand test until fatigue, we can see where muscles start to fatigue and misalignment starts to happen.

 

  • Healthy Knees – 

An article by Culvenor et. al (2016) shows that those after a common knee surgery called “Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction” showed better knee health 3 years after the surgery. These subjects were able to do 22+ single leg sit to stands, while subjects who could not perform at least 22 reps scored significantly less for overall knee health. (1)  

 

So who wants to try some single leg sit to stands? Here are some progressions from beginner to expert:

 

 1. STS (double legs) no hands from chair (48cm height)

2. Staggered leg STS. In this exercise, your back leg is the one with all the weight while your front is only used for balance (10-20% weight)

3. Staggered leg STS with leg on block. The leg that is on the block is the one in front, and now you have to challenge yourself by only putting 0-5% weight through that leg and using your back one.

4. Single leg STS. With one leg up, get up off the chair and back down slowly on a single leg. Watch your knees so they don’t cave in or go past your toes!!

 

Check out this video to watch Paulina perform the progressions in real time:

 

 

Now you have a try!! Click here for a printable guide of the exercises. If you are experiencing pain, or need assistance from a physio, be sure to call us at 8599 9811 or book in for an appointment HERE.

 
 
References:
  1. Culvenor AG, Collins NJ, Guermazi A, Cook JL, Vicenzino B, Whitehead TS, Morris HG, Crossley KM. Early patellofemoral osteoarthritis features one year after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction: symptoms and quality of life at three years. Arthritis care & research. 2016 Jun;68(6):784-92.