Dynamic Warm-Up Exercise for Upper-Back Mobility

Do you find yourself leaning forward too much during squats or unable to go heavier with deadlifts? Or do you suffer from ongoing neck and shoulder pain? These could all be signs that you lack good upper-back mobility, a common problem for anyone who works at a computer.

If your weightlifting warm up amounts to doing a few light sets before your working set, you could be missing out on improved performance, mobility, and injury prevention. But a quick, full body, dynamic warm up will provide all these benefits.

A great place to start? An exercise to increase your upper-back mobility. That’s why I’m including an exercise demo in today’s post: The Walking Lunge with Thoracic Rotation will improve your upper-back mobility while also increasing your balance:

You don’t hear about upper-back mobility as often as the lower back, but it’s just as important, if not more so. Located between the cervical spine (neck) and the lumbar spine (low back), the thoracic spine can become stiff and dysfunctional as we slump at our computers day after day. Your thoracic spine allows you to twist and bend, but you can have an immobile thoracic spine without even realizing it.

Dynamic warm ups consist of a series of bodyweight, sport-specific movements that prepare your muscles for training. Not only do these 5- to 10-minute pre-workout rituals improve performance and power, but they’re an opportunity to work on mobility, balance, and range of motion. And that translates into injury prevention.

So if you’re not doing dynamic warm ups, start now. And don’t forget to include at least one upper-body mobility exercise for two sets of 8-12 repetitions.

For more about thoracic spine mobility, check out this excellent article over at Mark’s Daily Apple.

This article originally appeared on www.workoutnirvana.com.

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  1. I’m guilty of not warming up nearly as much as I should.. I will confess! Going to try this though, because I’ve been having a lot of tightness in my upper back!
    Liz @ The Clean Eating Couple recently posted..Refusing to be Content with MediocrityMy Profile

  2. Very timely; thanks for this! “Ongoing neck and shoulder pain”, that’s me to a t…especially when I’m doing things that shouldn’t target or aggravate those areas, like bench presses. 🙁 My workout buddy knows now to tell me when I’m clenching my neck! I’m working on it – and this will definitely help.

    • “Clenching” is so apt! Just food for thought, but you might be clenching your upper traps. In my case, a weak rotator cuff caused my upper traps to overcompsenate and inflame my shoulder. Try strengthening your rotator cuff in addition to keeping things relaxed :).

  3. I need this!!!
    B/c of the many surgeries I have had on my chest I am constantly stooping! And I always notice that is the part of my body that fatigues first!
    Krysten recently posted..Balancing the Physical and Mental Effects of DietMy Profile

    • I hear you Krysten, I had the same problem after my mastectomy. I felt like my shoulder blades forgot how to retract and I had to retrain them. Do things like pull-aparts and face pulls to get your rear delts and rhomboids stronger. That’ll help your posture too :).

  4. A weak/tight upper back (or really, having disproportionately strong front delts vs rear delts) is one of the biggest dysfunctions that causes people to injure their shoulders when bench pressing. Just a fun fact for the day! So be sure to loosen up and strengthen your upper back/rear delts to keep your shoulders safe.

  5. I need to learn this. I always love to exercise. Thanks for your nice tutorial.
    Ashik Hossain recently posted..Neem Oil for Hair CareMy Profile

  6. Good stuff, I’ve been struggling with overhead squats because of my upper body mobility. I think more of a dynamic warm up like you suggested will definitely help. Thank you!
    Justin MacDonald recently posted..The Top 20 Best Crossfit WorkoutsMy Profile

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