Daily Mobility Exercises by Dr. Kelly Starrett Forums Back Program for t-spine mobility

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    • #71429
      AvatarMatthew Harvey


      I have a very stiff t-spine and Im stuck with a rounded back and rounded shoulders. Also overextending. I think this have caused a winged scapula on my right side. I have tried different of t-spine & lats mwods but I don’t get any improvements. Also the winged scapula makes the mobilizing more difficult.  Therefore I need help/advice for programming a program that improves my t-spine mobility(mwods before and after training, daily basis etc)

      I have tools(little battlestar, gemini, supernovito, yogatuna-balls, the grid).For strengthen the back Im using the crossover symmetry. However I should see more results once the t-spine and the lats are cleared up.

      Thanks for your help.

    • #76166
      AvatarNick Wallace


      I would also be incredibly interested in an answer on this question, since Andreas exactly describes a condition that I am suffering from. Rounded and stiffened T-spine, overextension in the lumbar spine and a terribly winging scapula on the right side. My scapula on the left side is also winged, but far less than on the right side. I have the feeling that this make mobilizing for shoulder rotation much more difficult. The worst thing though is the rounded stiffened T-Spine which I believe is the cause for many other things going wrong in my back.

      Looking forward for an answer!

      Thanks a lot if advance!

    • #76169
      AvatarNathan Richer

      hey guys, i sense two questions here. one is t-spine mobility work, and the 2nd is how to deal with scapula winging.

      for t-spine mobility work, i would run a gemini or double lacrosse ball up and down the spine. lay on it and rock fwd and back, repeating at each segment. you may feel adjustments at some segments. 
      there are also movement based t-spine mobility work to try. one of my favorites is the Bretzel: https://youtu.be/yMnamNJZMBk
      there are versions of this rotation in quadraped position, and also in squat position. all are good to try.
      for winged scapula, i would find a specialist to help you if you can. usually it requires another person to look at your scapula positioning since it’s hard to see behind your back when you’re doing exercises. 
      real solutions usually involve diaphragmatic breathing, postural correction, and then motor control re-education of your shoulder complex to stabilize and use the scapula properly as your arm goes through movements.
      you should know that i love crossover symmetry, but if you are pulling the cables with incorrect scapular movements, you’re reinforcing bad habits, and potentially you could hurt yourself with them. also note that i disagree with the squeezing of the scapula together at the end of crossover symmetry movements as they recommend in their videos. this is the conflict between the old and new thinking. the old world had you squeezing the shoulder blades together. but the new thinking has come from that creating more problems where you imprinted poor scapular movement like squeezing the scapula together at the end of movements which causes them to lift off the rib cage.
      Evan Osar has some great videos on the subject on YT:
      a great DVD on the subject is by Sue Falsone: http://www.otpbooks.com/product/sue-falsone-the-shoulder/
      good luck with this. it is worthy goal to get your scapulae stuck back on your ribcage. but it could take a long time, but worth the time you spend to do it.
    • #76173
      AvatarNick Wallace


      Thank you so much! A lot to digest….I will start at the top and work myself through. I understand that the scapula issue is complicated and needs a lot of dedication. Regarding the t-spine mobility I hope that following the suggested exercises will cure the problem some day. I hear many different things about stiffened t-spines. Some people claim that from a certain age on it is impossible to correct this issue without surgery.
      Well, I don’t buy that.

    • #76174
      AvatarNathan Richer

      I think your t-spine mobility depends on a lot of things. some of these things like your normal daily posture during standing and sitting can confound any work to mobilize that part of your spine. there could be structural issues too, like the discs shrinking in that area due to previous damage which could inhibit mobility. and then there are poor movement patterns which can lock your spine back up just when you loosen it up.

      I think you should go at it as if you can mobilize it, but you should also think about it as a 24/7 problem and not just the 2 min you lay on a Gemini. if your scapulae are winging, it could be because you are extended in the t-spine where many people get locked into the pattern of sticking their chest out in front. this reverses the natural slightly kyphotic curve of the t-spine and accentuates winging. but this also causes t-spine problems since the spine is not aligned properly there. so making sure your posture is 100% neutral 24/7 is a crucial part of mobilizing the entire body.
      good luck on this and report back on your progress!
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