Side-Lying T-Spine Rotations

May 25, 2023



We’ve already talked about mobility and breathing (separately)… and today we’re going to incorporate them again in a single post! It’s THAT important.
By now, you are all familiar with the Side-Lying T-Spine Rotations. We do some version of thoracic rotation in just about every warmup, and this one, in particular, is a favorite. In this video, I cover the proper setup and execution of the drill and I demonstrate the NEW AND IMPROVED way we are going to perform it.


Before we get to the specifics of the mobility drill, you might be wondering why thoracic spine rotation is important in the first place. And while the reasons are numerous, I’m only gonna focus on a BIG one here…
First, our t-spines are designed to allow rotation, but when we can’t access a lot of rotation from this region our bodies will compensate and find it elsewhere depending on the task we are trying to accomplish. Specifically, the lower back, neck, and shoulders. Excessive rotation in the lower back and neck, as a result of compensations, can lead to a host of issues. And our shoulders are already optimized for maximum mobility, which means it comes with a trade-off… less stability! If we’re compensating by accessing EVEN MORE mobility through this joint, we are potentially stressing it too much and risking injury!
Enough of that, I think you get the picture! Let’s get to the video… and sorry about the video flipping over halfway through ????‍♂️


  • Lying on your side
    • Bottom leg fully straightened out
    • Top leg bent at the knee, resting on the foam roller, and hip flexed greater than 90 degrees
    • Bottom hand hooking your knee to keep it down and assist with rotation
    • Top arm reaching straight out in front of you


  • Fully inhale in the starting position
  • As you start to exhale, twist open through your upper back and begin to reach with your top arm
  • Turn your head and look in the direction that you’re reaching as you fully exhale
    • The goal is to lay your upper back and shoulder blades flat on the ground, NOT just to reach with your arm
  • As you fully exhale in the end-range position, STAY THERE, and cycle another deep, relaxing breath
  • On this next exhale, try to flatten your upper back and reach even further
  • DO NOT tense up or hold your breath. You must be able to breathe freely and deeply