Avoid the Rock Climbing Hunchback pt. 2: Mobility

by Bo Baradar-Heristchian, DPT, PSIA, AASI, WSI

>> Telehealth Details

>> Request an Appointment

To help or prevent thoracic kyphosis or a climbing hunchback, you’ll need to increase the pliability of the tissues that pull your body into a hunch. The 3 most important areas to address are the pectorialis major, pectorialis minor and the midspine (thoracic spine). You can have a skilled therapist mobilize the tissues or you can use a small round ball (tennis or lacrosse ball) or foam roll against the desired restricted tissue. After the tissues are mobilized, it’s recommended that you perform stretches to maintain the flexibility that you just gained. Below is a series of mobility exercises to combat the restricted tissues.

Soft Tissue Mobilization of Pectoral (Major and Minor)

Pectorialis major tightness will cause the arms to rotate inwards due to the muscle attachment between the thoracic cage and the arm. You can use a tennis ball against the wall and apply pressure on the pec major muscle in the direction of maximal restriction or in a circular fashion to improve mobility in this muscle. You can also use an old carabiner to apply more aggressive pressure. The image below shows the pectorialis major with its origin, insertion and action. Soft tissue mobilization will decrease the likelihood that your arms will rotate inward in a climber’s hunch.

Image 4

Pec minor is another muscle to address in case of climber’s hunch. Tightness of the pectoralis minor can round the shoulder blades forward because of its attachment from the chest wall to the shoulder blade. Using the same method as above (tennis ball or carabiner), the individual can apply pressure on this muscle. However, since this muscle is deeper than the pectoralis major, slightly more pressure is required to reach it.

Image 5

Pectoralis Minor Soft Tissue Release (3 reps x 30 sec)

Soft tissue mobilization should be followed by stretching to improve the range of motion. After increasing the pliability of pec major and minor, you can stretch the muscles. Hold this position to achieve maximum benefit.

Image 6

Pectoralis Major Door Frame Stretch (3 reps x 30 sec)

To stretch the pec major muscle, stand between a door frame as shown below with external rotation and horizontal abduction of the arm. Lunge forward to apply force on the muscle.

Image 7 F2f15f 75d73c45d30b40a39d74f0fecb314418 mv2

Pectoralis Minor Foam Roll Stretch

To stretch the pec minor muscle, the climber will position on a foam roller. Since the pectoralis minor attaches to the shoulder blade, a partner can press on the front of the climber’s inner shoulder to isolate only the pec minor. If that is not done, this stretch is for both pectoralis minor and major.

F2f15f ed38fcc34eeb4ace8f41158c09a1da9c mv2 F2f15f 31600d51dfd5458db01a2465f827d3b9 mv2 F2f15f 8a621727deb94063b9981879009e8bc2 mv2 F2f15f cb608299424f455b9fc9ae8716e1a3d9 mv2

Pectoralis Minor Stretch Progression (3 reps x 30 sec)

To stretch the pectoralis minor, loop a band around your upper arm next to your armpit crease and face away from the anchor. Place your arm behind your head with your elbow bent and move your body forward to feel a stretch in the front part of your shoulder.

F2f15f 911a049c282b455db6ede347e083c124 mv2 F2f15f e78cfb83da8f43fea8e584c5f71c5d6e mv2

Pectoralis Major Stretch Progression (3 reps x 30 sec)

To stretch the pectoralis major, loop a band around your upper arm next to your elbow and face away from the anchor. With your arm bent at 90 degrees, move forward to feel a stretch in front of your shoulder in the pectoral muscle. You can move the band further towards your elbow to increase the stretch or reach your arm up and down in the air.

F2f15f ff74434254ae4109b5aa55ea149e88af mv2 F2f15f 7258e065c92944758422541507547cef mv2

Thoracic Spine Extension Foam Roll (3 reps x 30 sec)

This exercise targets the thoracic spine directly and pushes the spine in the opposite direction of a climbing hunch. Place the foam roller on the floor and lie on your back with the knees bent while aligning the foam roller horizontally with the shoulder blades. With arms behind the head, lower your head as close as you can to the floor until you feel a stretch behind the back of the thoracic spine. Maintain engaged abdominal muscles and proper low back posture during the exercise and make sure not to overextend your neck.

F2f15f aeb54aff85cc43c2bd9f3bd6ecd9b1db mv2 F2f15f 9970ad1e968a4aff90fb435fa73d1075 mv2

Thoracic Spine Extension Progression (3 reps x 30 sec)

To progress the thoracic extension, try sitting on a ball and step forward to lower the back onto the ball. Next, place the ball directly under the shoulder blades and open the arms on each side to increase the stretch. Maintain this position and relax.

F2f15f d7188cf3319f4b649c695630472492ad mv2 F2f15f 1f3bf6b1d7244f60b7ac871bfec6fa20 mv2 F2f15f 0dd4270f39944b61b6771db64cae4b0c mv2

Try these mobility exercises out and let us know if you feel any pain or discomfort. As always, reach out with questions or to schedule an appointment!

>> Telehealth Details

>> Request an Appointment

Related Posts

New balance fuelcell rebel v2
August 2, 2022
By Evolution Physical Therapy
Woman doing yoga
June 15, 2022
By Evolution Physical Therapy
Pregnant woman doing yoga
June 8, 2022
By Evolution Physical Therapy
Woman doing yoga
May 26, 2022
By Evolution Physical Therapy