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Thoracic Rotation and Why It’s Important!

Do you have difficulty lifting your arms over head? Have trouble moving your neck? Have soreness throwing a ball? Can’t swim as fast as you previously could? 

All these activities can be affected and limited by a lack of thoracic rotation. We want a mobile thoracic spine, particularly for rotation and in turn, extension. If we lose one, we lose the other! 

Its particularly important for overhead athletes, but also for athletes that paddle, e.g. kayakers and rowers, where we require exceptional rotation to assist with correct technique and power development!

How do we assess it?

A simple test can be the sitting thoracic rotation movement in the bow and arrow starting position. See video below. We look for symmetry here, Left equals Right! Plus our aim is to get to 90°! Test if for yourself! 

How do we improve it? 

Below are 2 of our favourite techniques/exercises to help improve thoracic rotation. 


Standing – Bells, bows, wells 


Bow and arrow in side lying + Deep breathing at end of range 


Perform these in a controlled manner. They should be pain free and just a stretching sensation should be felt.

If you found that you are limited with your thoracic rotation and would like help improving it for your sport/training, call us today on 4356 2588 to book in with one of our physiotherapists!

Book an appointment online!

Coast Sport Central Coast Physiotherapy

Matt Cranney

DirectorMusculoskeletal PhysiotherapistSports and Exercise Physiotherapist