Is Thoracic Spine Mobility Important?

Shayna Robinson, MSPT, PhD | January 25th, 2014


Lumber Multifidus…What?!

Ever hear me talk about your Lumber Multifidus muscle? Often ignored by personal trainers, this muscle is essential in establishing a solid foundation of support for your lumbar spine, allowing you to progress your training to a higher level sans injury. Let’s talk about why it’s so important and how you can strengthen this integral stabilizer:

1) Without them, our spine would have problems!

The multifidus muscles help to take pressure off the vertebral discs so that our body weight can be well distributed along the spine. Additionally, the superficial muscle group keeps our spine straight while the deep muscle group contributes significantly to the stability of our spine. These two groups of multifidus muscles are recruited during many actions in our daily living, which includes bending backward, sideways and even turning our body to the sides. Studies have shown that the multifidus muscles get activated before any action is carried out so to protect our spine from injury.

2) The key is training your body to breathe while engaging your multifidus!

One of the reasons so many people have lumbar back pain is a result of not taking full breaths using their diaphram muscle in their lower abdomen. So often we take short quick breaths using our upper back and neck muscles because this is the most efficient way to get oxygen to our heart quickly. But when not in quick need, it’s important to contract that diaphram so that the multifidus learns it should be engaged all the time. Taking long sustained breaths in and out retrains your body to use your diaphram rather than your upper neck and shoulder muscles to breathe. You can imagine the tightness and pathology you may sustain by breathing from your neck, shoulders and back rather than from your deep abdomen–The upper extremity muscles get tighter and more bulky (theoretically causing lactic acid buildup and reduced oxygenation). This can result in a compression of the cervical spine and a weakness in the lumber multifidus.

3) Key exercises for keeping this muscle strong:

Cat & Cow Pose: Inhale, look up, pull belly in. Exhale, look down, push shoulders towards ceiling.

Pelvic Bridge: Press back flat into floor, raise hips towards ceiling. Hold for 2-3 seconds. Repeat 10x.






Detox Monday: Killer Abs

You’ve been drinking and eating your way through the weekend, so what better way to start off the week than with a Detox Monday workout courtesy of CoreFit. On the docket for today is a killer ab routine I use on the toughest NFL players out there. They need the core power to maneuver up and down the ice quickly and power the puck to those game winning victory shots.


Your Daily Detox

If you wake up feeling tired, sore and generally puffy, you may want to try adding a Liver Support supplement to your daily routine. The liver plays a major role in metabolism and has a number of functions in the body, including glycogen storage, decomposition of red blood cells, plasma protein synthesis, hormone production, and detoxification. In a nutshell, this organ controls how you produce, store or burn fat and calories.

Beyond eating healthy and staying physically fit, supplements can aid your body in detoxification, so your organs don’t have to work so hard to get rid of the fat and toxins in your blood. My favorite supplement in this category is the NOW foods brand Liver Detoxifier and Regenerator.


Lululemon and The Rabbit Hole

Heard mentality– it’s a dangerous thing. I love yoga, but exercise and fitness can be a dangerous thing. You convince people that all this is for your body and it’s good and they will literally do ANYTHING to win this race. People LOVE extremes, let’s face it. They will, for instance, follow you into a store and purchase massive quantities of overpriced articles of clothing. And apparently, that’s not all. If you want to indulge yourself in a little extremist herd mentality behavior, check out my favorite example Lululemon. Lofty ideals, they elevate your badonka-donk to a holy height.

If you haven’t been keeping up with the dramatic downfall of my favorite cult Lululemon, then you may be in for a surprise. This week Christina Day, CEO (formerly of Starbucks fame) stepped down after five and a half years. This wouldn’t come as a shock for many who watched the brand take a nose dive after the see-through pants snafu and Founder Chip Wilson’s Ayn Randian demands on employees that they follow his training protocol, “or else.” This is a man who named the company, infamously as a marketing technique because “Asians would have a hard time pronouncing it.”

Wilson, who remains lulu Chairman, sold $50 million worth of stock just days before Day


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