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Sports Physio


BY CATHY ARNOT, USOC PHYSIOTHERAPIST


The Best Exercises for Shooters: Best Ways To Improve Thoracic Mobility


I have had the pleasure of working with the U.S.


Shoot-


ing Team since 2003. Over the years, I have noticed that many shooting athletes get very tight throughout their thoracic spine and rib cage. Why does this oc- cur? It could be due to absorbing recoil from a 12-gauge shotgun, stress from sustained end-range


1. Thoracic stretch using a foam roller. PLACE A FOAM ROLLER SO


THAT IT LINES UP VERTICALLY WITH YOUR SPINE. ALLOW YOUR ARMS TO DROP TO THE SIDE UNTIL YOU FEEL A STRETCH ALONG YOUR PECTORALS/ CHEST MUSCLES. HOLD FOR ONE MINUTE. YOU CAN THEN CROSS YOUR ARMS AND ROLL FROM RIGHT TO LEFT FOR ONE MINUTE.


2. Foam roller mobil- ity exercise for thoracic spine. PLACE A FOAM ROLLER UN-


DER YOUR UPPER BACK. SUPPORT YOUR HEAD AND NECK BY LACING YOUR FINGERS BEHIND YOUR NECK AND RAISE YOUR HIPS TO A BRIDGE POSITION. ROLL BACK AND FORTH FOR ONE MINUTE, FOCUSING MORE ON TIGHT AREAS AS NEEDED. YOU CAN FOCUS MORE ON THE RIGHT OR LEFT BY TWISTING. BE CAREFUL NOT TO ROLL SO FAR DOWN YOUR SPINE THAT YOU GET TO YOUR LOWER BACK. IF YOU GO LOWER, YOU CAN INJURE YOUR LOWER RIBS.


2a.


Shotgun National Team member Collin Wietfeldt demonstrates these thoracic mobility exercises.


2b.


postures and/or from breath holding. Loosening the thoracic spine through manipulation, joint and soft tissue mobilization is a commonly requested treat- ment when I work with shooting athletes.


What are the benefi ts of in-


creasing fl exibility of the thoracic spine? The immediate effects


are decreased pain and tension in that area. Rifl e athletes that require a lot of rotation in their standing position may fi nd it eas- ier to fi nd a good hold. You may also have improved shock ab- sorption and improved shoulder and neck range of motion. There are many exercises that can help increase thoracic mobility that


require very little equipment and can be performed at the gym or in your own home. I have put together the fi ve exercises that I think are the most effective. All of these exercises can be


performed daily and should not be painful.


1.


44 USA Shooting News | Year in Review 2013


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