Reluctantly Festive & Upper Back Mobility Work

Hello, loves! I hope you all had a lovely holiday weekend.

Before we get into today’s post, I have a couple housekeeping items:

*Since so many were on holiday from blog reading as well as work, I decided to let the Black Friday sale for training packages rollover to Cyber Monday! Sign up for discounted  training and/or nutrition programs until midnight tonight*

*I participated in Fitmixer Boot Camp during its last round. Not only did I get the support of TONS of inspiring men and women who participated, but also daily workouts, a nutrition plan, and a BOAT load of Fitmixer goodies (seriously, I’m still working through it!) If you’ve been thinking about signing up,  GOOD NEWS – Fitmixer is extending a $25 OFF on your Boot Camp entry with the code: CYBER25 ! Let me know if you sign up, and let *them* know who sent ya Open-mouthed smile*

I rounded out my holiday weekend by training a client, watching church, watching the Bears kick some booty, baking muffins:


pumpkin cranberry muffins from this cook book

and even putting up a few Christmas decorations!


To be honest, I really haven’t felt the Christmas spirit yet this year. Usually it sneaks up on me right after Halloween, but, with having a lot going on right now, plus going to Florida later this month, it’s kind of been pushed to the wayside. This helps Smile


Going back to the “a lot going on right now” – I mentioned that I’m currently taking a break from lifting at the gym. Instead, I’m really focusing on mobility work. Each day, I’ll pick a muscle group and do the following:

  • foam roll the muscles (20 minutes)
  • Mobility drills/dynamic exercises (15 minutes)
  • Stretching (10 minutes)

It’s pretty crazy that I’m not even working out, but I’m still spending as much time as I was for my workouts on mobility work. It’s OK, because when I do get back to lifting, I’ll be a flexible, mobile machine! Winking smile

On Friday, I got a new helper for my mobility work!


I got a new foam roller – The Grid – this past weekend, and tried it out while I was working at the gym on Friday.

As soon as I rolled out my left IT band, I immediately wanted to chuck it across the gym. <—-sign of a really good foam roller Winking smile


Since I have super tight hips, I spend at 2-3 days on hip mobility drills, but I’ve also really been focusing on my back (and shoulders.) It, along with my limited hip mobility, is a main part of what limits my Overhead Squatting ability. In order to hold the barbell directly over your shoulders, and maintain good spinal alignment, good mobility of the thoracic spine is crucial. With going back to some of my ACE books, and some good ol’ Google research, I’ve been using the following routine for my Back Mobility Day.

Upper Back/Thoracic Spin Mobility Exercises

Do each exercise 10 times, 3 rounds

With foam roller:


Thoracic Spin Roll: Keeping the abs engaged, place the back (a couple inches above where the rib cage starts) on the foam roller. Hug yourself with both arms, and slowly roll the foam roller up your back, pausing for 20-30 seconds at any tight spots. Roll back down, pausing again where it’s tender. (this is one of my FAVorite foam rolling exercises.)

Thoracic Extension on Foam Roller: Begin in the same position as the first exercise, with the hands behind the ears and the elbows towards each other, but keep your hips on the floor, and extend the back so the crown of your head touches the floor. Then, slowly roll the foam roller up your back, again, pausing at any tight spots.

Lying Lateral Rotation: Lying on one side, bring your top leg in a right angle and drape it over the foam roller. Bring both arms straight out in front of you. Inhale, and exhale, twisting at the thoracic spine, bringing the top arm behind you, trying to get that shoulder and hand to touch the ground.

Now it’s time to ditch the foam roller.

Without foam roller:


Quadruped thoracic rotation: On all fours, brace your abs and bring one hand behind the head. Inhale. Exhale, and bring that elbow to touch your opposite elbow, twisting at the thoracic spine.

Quadruped thoracic extension: Basically the opposite, sit back toward your heels, like you’re doing child’s pose. Brace your abs (this helps you not to twist at the lumbar spine, btw) and lift your elbow up toward the ceiling.

Lat dorsi stretch: Bracing your toes – just kidding – your abs, kneel in front of a surface that’s about ribcage high. Place your elbows on the surface, and gently bow down, feeling a good stretch in your lats in the process.

Yay mobility!

And now I’m off to start my busy morning! In between clients this morning, I’ve got a not-so-fun appointment. One of those things on the list of “lots going on right now” includes an appointment this morning to get a mole on my jaw looked at. I have my consultation appointment with a plastic surgeon (my dermatologist felt it would be better if I had a surgeon excise it) this morning. I’m grateful to be able to take care of it though Open-mouthed smile

Your turn!

If you celebrate Christmas, have you begun to decorate for it yet?

What’s your favorite stretch?

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  1. I’m with you on the lack of feeling festive. It probably won’t hit me until a few days before Christmas. Last year was worse and I think it was because of a lack of snow. But I just put up our Christmas tree yesterday and that made me happy. :-)

    I love that Clarabelle is in your pictures. She is just so pretty.

    Happy Holidays Paige!!

  2. Love mobility!!! Those are some awesome exercises too! They are sure to improve your overhead squat! Good luck with the doc today.
    Danielle (@CleanFoodCreativeFitness) recently posted..Marvelous in my Monday!My Profile

  3. oh i love this resource for stretches! do more!

  4. Our tree doesn’t go up until at least within a day or two of December… I just can’t do it!
    Amy B @ Second City Randomness recently posted..UntraditionalMy Profile

  5. I definitely need to do mobility exercises more often…especially for my hips!

    I’ll start my decorating next Saturday…December 1st is always my rule. :-p
    Sam @ Better With Sprinkles recently posted..Surprise!My Profile

  6. I decorated last weekend :) Love having all my decorations up :)
    Lindsey recently posted..30 daysMy Profile

  7. I love my Grid roller! I can never go back to other rollers now, haha. Next week I’m doing a mobility-only deload week, I can’t wait! Hope your doctor’s appointment goes okay xo
    Tara @ Sweat like a Pig recently posted..Build your bootyMy Profile

  8. I loveeeeee my foam roller! I spent some good time on Saturday doing yoga/foam rolling and felt like a million bucks on Sunday – I should probably do that more often haha. I’m totally in the mood to get down and stretch in the middle of my office right now!
    juliegolean recently posted..clean out your crisper omelet & meal planningMy Profile

  9. I haven’t really been bit by the Christmas bug yet either… I’m thinking once we decorate, it’ll help me get in the mood more. A good snow always helps too! Foam rolling is so bittersweet, eh? I’m sure your body is loving you right now though!
    Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries recently posted..Thanksgiving WeekendMy Profile

  10. I am insanely jealous of your mobility routine! There is nothing better than foam rolling, thanks for sharing some of your exercises. I’ve only used a roller like the Grid a few times but loved it! Any stretch that opens my hips is a fav! We’re doing Christmas decorating in 2 weekends, things have been too busy lately :)
    Katie @ KatieEnPursuit recently posted..Pinterest Called, They Want to Give Me My Afternoon Back…My Profile

  11. Those stretches look great! I have almost no flexibility in my spine (or anywhere other than my hips, really) so I’m sure I could greatly benefit from this.
    I am usually very anti-Christmas, but oddly enough I’m really into decorating this year. Probably because I love where I live this year as opposed to Christmases past. That said, I’m not sure I really feel that into the spirit yet. I just like pretty lights, haha.
    Kacy recently posted..A questionable Thanksgiving celebrationMy Profile

  12. GAH! Thoractic rotations were the stretch we did at my NASM workshop and I still die just thinking about how it felt the first time. Oh, the love-hate relationship with foam rollers!
    Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance recently posted..A Tinier Turkey DayMy Profile

  13. I’ve actually kind of fallen out of love with Christmas. I know that sounds weird, but I don’t get into the whole merchandising side at all. I focus more on hanging out with family, enjoying great food and making memories. Don’t get me wrong, I love the decorations and the feel of Christmas, but for me it’s not as much about that anymore.
    Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) recently posted..Friday Food FodderMy Profile

  14. I am the ultimate procrastinator when it comes to decorating for Christmas! It immediately starts to feel like Christmas for me the day after Thanksgiving…but then I wait a few weeks before I get anything organized and decorate :-/

  15. I’m total opposite of you and feeling super festive ha. I guess if you’re going to Florida before Christmas it makes sense to not be in the spirit yet;) Okay, I totally need these foam roller exercises. I’ve been neglecting that evil thing for far too long! Hope your appointment goes well!
    Lisa recently posted..Weekend FestivitiesMy Profile

  16. I definitely need to work on my mobility and will incorporate these exercises into my stretching/foam tiling routine. Any chance of you sharing your hip exercises too? It’s a huge trouble area for me that sometimes leads to injuries and I don’t know many exercises to help.

  17. I have a love hate relationship with my foam roller. Would you do a post about hip stretches?? I would love that! I sit all day (dental hygienist) so I’m really tight.
    Praying that your doctor visit went well today girl!
    Brittany @ Delights and Delectables recently posted..MIMM #26 Thanksgiving EditionMy Profile

  18. I’ve realized that my foam roller is very dense and is really painful. As soon as I can I will get a softer one so that I actually want to use it. I’ve been told that if I continue to use the one I have it will get better but I find myself laughing so I won’t cry. I was watching some youtube videos just last night and that thoracic stretch looks so nice.. I really like rolling my shoulders and upper back. It sounds weird to hear that you watched church.. I do it too sometimes but it still sounds weird. Amen for technology I say! :)

  19. Pretty much any time I am on the floor in the playroom with the kids, I’m doing crazy things like this. Rolling around on my roller. And I SO want a grid roller!

  20. we have the grid. Hurst like mother. haha. In a good way, yes? Love all the exercises, well love/hate.
    cottercrunch recently posted..From “doh” to dough: MIMMMy Profile

  21. I haven’t quite felt festive yet either except that seeing everyone’s pictures of their holiday decorations on IG started to get me in the mood. I LOVE both the Thoracic Spine Roll and Thoracic extension. I’ve been trying to work on my upper back mobility too and both of these moves really help me.
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..Scenes from my weekend: Disney and ThanksgivingMy Profile

  22. We just put up some twinkle lights if you want to look at my most recent post? 😀

    I need to get me on of those rollers…maybe…
    Trudy recently posted..Food, George and ChristmasMy Profile


  1. […] to stretch and do your mobility work! And of course, you’d want to progress the variations and exercises week to week, and progress […]

  2. […] sure beforehand to warm up by activating key muscle groups like glutes, hip flexors, lats, etc., warm up the thoracic spine, and foam […]

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