Thoracic Spine: Thoracic Cat Camel
The cat camel is a common exercise used to help improve, restore, or maintain spinal mobility. It’s common place in most yoga classes, and it’s a movement that even most novice trainee’s are familiar with. While the cat camel is a great exercise all on it’s own, we can modify it to be more effective at targeting the thoracic spine.
The traditional cat camel focuses on the entire spine, in sagittal flexion and extension. The problem is, most people are lacking extension through their thoracic spine, as we discussed in the past two blog posts. This means that during the extension phase of their traditional cat camel exercise, they’re most likely getting most of (if not all) their extension from their lower back. Repeatedly using one area of your spine for flexion and extension increases your risk of injury, and effects how well you can move.
In order to improve your thoracic spines ability to extend and rotate, by using the cat camel exercise, we must take the lower back out of the equation. Meaning – we need to make it so that just your thoracic spine is doing the movement and not the lower back.
How do we do this? Simple! By sitting back on the heels, elongating the spine, and performing a “lumbar blocked” cat camel – or a “thoracic cat camel”.
In the video below you’ll learn how to modify the cat camel so that it targets your thoracic spines ability to extend, as well as rotate. This method is a gentle way of restoring, improving, or maintaining your thoracic spine mobility. Check out the video, and give it a go!