The purpose is to improve thoracic rotation via self-directed accessory rib cage mobilization, in a non weight-bearing position.
Start with hips flexed to at least 90 degrees, preferably as high as possible to create lumbar tension to limit lumbar rotation.
Grab the underside of the rib cage. As you lay back, thus rotating and extending the thorax, pull upwards on the ribs. After 3 breaths, perform a double reach - one hand reaches back along the floor whilst the other reaches to the sky.
Thoracic rotation/extension is not a pure intervertebral motion. It involves costo-transverse and costo-vertebral mobilization also. The accessory rib cage mobilization provides distraction to the costo-transverse and costo-vertebral joints. The pulling action, coupled with scapulothoracic retraction, inhibits anterior torso activity, thus freeing up rotation mobility.The double reach creates an extension force on one side of the spine with a flexion force on the other side - creating rotation.
Common errors and corrections:
A loss of scapulothoracic stability on the “pulling arm”. If this occurs, cue shoulder packing. Another error is a loss of hip flexion, leading the lumbar spine to mobilise, reducing the targeted thorax mobilization. If this occurs, cue more hip flexion.