In this tutorial, we will go over the target muscle, setup, form, and more for the seated thoracic extension. For more workout tips, tricks, and information, follow me on Instagram @daniellehamlin or visit the Exercise Library​ :) Enjoy the video!


Multi-Joint Movement

Joints and Joint Type Involved: Thoracic Spine (costotransverse joint), Shoulder (ball-and-socket joint), and Hip (ball-and-socket joint)

Main Muscles Worked: Erector Spinae Equipment: Floor, bench, or table.

Prerequisites: None. See modifications for specific issues and/or limitations.

What might appear to be an easy move may prove to be quite challenging and taxing on the muscles along the spine. The objective of this exercise is to sit as tall as possible. This position is specifically great for those who have a limited range of motion in their thoracic spine. There is no equipment necessary because your own limited flexibility will provide enough resistance. If your flexibility is too limited there are several ways to modify the exercise to make it useful for you.


1. To get started, you will first need to assess the amount of flexibility your hamstrings are capable of. If the hamstrings are too tight and you cannot sit up straight at all then you will need to modify this move. If the hamstrings are tight but you can still pull yourself into an upright position then this exercise will be perfect for you. If your hamstrings are not tight and you can fold your body into an acute angle with your thoracic spine extended then this exercise may be too rudimentary and a more advance exercise may be needed.

2. If you have just enough hamstring mobility to continue, take a seat on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you.

3. Begin to lift your arms above your head and reach toward the sky. If holding your hands in the air seems to easy, drive the upper arms toward the wall behind you.

4. Extend through the spine and pivot at the middle back to lift your chest to the sky. Do not arch from the lower back.

5. Think about tightening the muscles along your spine to sit up as tall as you can. Make sure that you are not leaning back at the hips. Keep everything aligned and try to hit an L-shape.

6. Hold for a designated amount of time or 20-45 seconds. This completes 1 set.

For common modifications, see 1:50​ 👍

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