When it comes to movement-based exercises for improved training, thoracic spine mobility can be especially important for baseball and softball players. Your thoracic spine is in the middle of your back, making it a very active portion of your spinal system.
“It’s very important that we achieve thoracic spine extension and thoracic spine rotation because this is the hub of our rotation,” says Frank Velasquez, director of sports performance for Allegheny Health Network. “Baseball and softball is very rotational and diagonal.”
To work your thoracic spine, all you will need is an exercise ball.
Beginning with the thoracic extension stretch, start off in a kneeling position. Place your hands on the exercise ball in front of you. Take a deep breath. As you exhale, walk your arms out and sink your head in between your arms so you get that curvature, that thoracic extension, according to Velasquez. Next, inhale and walk your hands back in and up to your start position. Then, as you exhale, go out again.
Coordinate each rep with your breathing, completing eight to 10 repetitions.
Another good exercise to stretch your t-spine focuses on your lateral line. Stay in the same kneeling position with the exercise ball. Walk your hands out to your neutral position, leaving some bend in your arms. From here, walk your arms to your left while keeping your hips stationary. This, according to Velasquez, will help you achieve a “nice right-lateral line stretch on that lat.”
Next, coordinate your breathing with your movements and walk your arms to your right. This can help achieve the same stretch on your left lat. Complete a few more repetitions per side before wrapping up.
These two exercises can help improve mobility for baseball and softball players. Be sure to loosen and stretch other key areas for better performance as well, including your hips (Link) and shoulders (Link).