Mobilize Your Thoracic & Hamstrings in One!
Video by Michele Vieux
This drill is a notch up from using the foam roller on your thoracic spine and has the added benefit of stretching the hamstrings at the same time. I’d consider it a notch up from the foam roller because the lacrosse balls you’re going to use on your thoracic spine (t-spine) are something that need to be worked up to. I usually foam roll for a few passes each time before moving to the lacrosse balls.
Since the foam roller is used to address a larger and more general area – massaging the muscles surrounding the spine rather than the individual junctions of the spine – is why I like to do it first. It helps loosen up your back and relax you so that you can really get to work with the lacrosse balls.
The way the lacrosse balls differ from the foam roller is that they allow you to focus on a specific joint in the vertebrae and mobilizing that junction – in the video, I mention T7-T9 as my problem areas and therefore where I am going to place the lacrosse balls. You can place your lacrosse balls wherever you feel like you have poor posture or if you feel like there is a sticky spot.
The role of the straight-leg hamstring raises is mostly to create stretch and tension on the posterior chain which provides for an improved opportunity at mobilizing the spinal junction you are focusing on. You also get the benefit of the hamstring flossing which most people could use. Remember to keep the knee locked out and to relax onto the lacrosse balls as much as possible through controlled breathing.
There is really no excuse not to have this as a regular part of your mobility routine. It is highly effective and only takes a few minutes. Give it a try – I’m sure you’ll love it!
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