by Max Shank T-Nation
Here's what you need to know...
Extensive sitting can make you a pathetically functioning human being.
You can improve movement quality in only 30 seconds by using the Thoracic Bridge.
Sitting in physically damaging. Some even say that excess sitting is the smoking of our generation. Luckily, the "cure" for most mobility problems can be found in one simple, 30-second drill that you've never seen before the Thoracic Bridge.
Quick Review: Sitting Problems
Here are the movement problems that are caused or made worse by extensive sitting:
- Decreased hip mobility (especially extension)
- Decreased thoracic mobility (specifically excessive kyphosis, or forward curvature)
- Decreased shoulder mobility (rounded forward and drawn inward)
- Lack of shoulder stability due to lack of scapular movement
- Poor core coordination and strength
- Gluteal amnesia (the glutes stop working)
- Head-forward posture (really bad for your neck)
It's pretty horrifying when you realize that excessive sitting alone can make you a poorly functioning human being.
Enter the Thoracic Bridge
As a gym owner and traveling instructor, my job is to provide the best possible solution to movement problems and make people awesome.
It's simple economics: find a movement that addresses all of these problems and you have the most efficient solution to the problem. However, such a movement, as far as I knew, didn't exist.
After some experimentation, though, I came up with the Thoracic Bridge, which has become a staple, if not the foundation, of my mobility work.
I taught a bodyweight workshop with over 40 attendees this past year and I had all of the attendees test their toe touch and shoulder mobility. Then I had them perform the Thoracic Bridge.
Without knowing the history of each individual, we achieved a dramatic improvement in both shoulder mobility and hip mobility instantly.
94% of attendees showed improved shoulder mobility
100% of attendees showed improved hip mobility (toe touch).
This happened in the span of 30 seconds and has since been replicated at a series of workshops.
So let me ask you, do you have 30 seconds to spend to improve your movement quality?
Performing the Thoracic Bridge will address all of the above bullet-point issues as well as training strength and stability of the shoulder girdle through a changing range of motion. This is key for avoiding shoulder pain and general weakness.
Performing the Thoracic Bridge is quite simple, but rather than write down the step-by-step process, I've put together a full instructional video below.
There are many positions you can start from, and transition into, but the above sequence seems to be one of the easiest to learn.
As you start getting comfortable (and competent) with the movement in general, then you should look to incorporate some other variations that will challenge your strength and flexibility even further. The video below shows a relatively simple (not easy) sequence that will address many aspects of strength and flexibility. I call it "Thoracic Flow":
Move Well, Live Well
The Thoracic Bridge is ridiculously easy to implement and is going to make you stronger, more flexible, and more resilient to injury.
Do it and become better instantly.