What’s up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, ATHLEANX.com. Today I’m going to show you how to unstick
yourself in your upper back. If you have this rounded posture or you just
feel stiff and you can’t really extend through that upper back, you’re likely not getting
enough thoracic extension. I talk all the time about how important and
critical that is to performing your big lifts. You can’t properly execute a row, or properly
execute a front squat, or even do an overhead press, or any other variation of a squat,
without having thoracic extension and the mobility needed through your thoracic spine
to do them the right way, or you’re going to compensate the hell out of them. But how we get here is a little interesting
because we were supposed to do a completely different topic until Jesse showed up to work
today, by the way, because – where were you yesterday? JESSE: I was playing golf. JEFF: Playing golf. On a workday. JESSE: You gave me the day off. JEFF: Okay, playing golf, and he comes in
today, says he feels stiff. JESSE: Yeah. I do. I can’t even get my – ah. I can’t even get back like that. JEFF: So- JESSE: It’s all tight, right up in here. JEFF: Since it’s such a common problem here,
I want to show you guys a way to fix it. There’s something I can do to him as a physical
therapist, but then something that you can do yourself when you don’t have somebody
like me to fix it yourself. It’s just going to take a couple of minutes. So, let’s take a look at the skeleton first
so you understand why you’re doing what you’re doing, and then I’ll show you how to do those
two things. To fix this issue, it does benefit you to
look beneath the surface to get a clear picture of what’s going on so you can attack it the
right way. There is a very specific way you want to do
this. If you look at it, the spine is setup into
three zones. We have the cervical spine of the neck, we
have the thoracic spine in this area here, and then we have the lumbar spine down the
low back. Interestingly, we’re trying to just focus
on the middle of that spine – the thoracic area – but it’s not the entire thoracic
area, as you’re going to see in a second. We have a couple of curves that happen naturally
in the spine. Up in the neck you have this curve that’s
curving inward. As we get to that upper/mid back we have a
natural convex curve happening here, and when we get back down toward the low back, we get
that natural lower downward curve in here where it curves right back in like it did
up at the neck. If you look at that, the entire thoracic spine
doesn’t curve like this. It starts to curve back in as the lumbar spine
does, if you look at a much higher level. You can see it’s starting to curve back in
over here. It’s starting to curve back in this direction. So, we don’t want to push anything into
extension, or regain extension when we already have good extension there. So, it helps us because there are some landmarks
that define exactly where you want to focus your efforts. That’s the top of your shoulders, which would
be the bottom of your cervical spine, and then the bottom of your shoulder blades. That’s going to get to the point where it
starts to go back into extension again. So, all of your efforts are focused here. So, when you use your foam roller like I’m
going to show you, you can feel the bottom of your shoulder blades, and you know where
the top of your shoulders are. The next thing you’re going to want to do
is try to expose this area because if you get your shoulder blades pinched too far back
together, they’re going to become more prominent. You can see it here form the side. They’re going to become more prominent so
even if you’re trying to push anything in this direction to try and impact the thoracic
spine here, you’re not going to be able to get to it. You want to get these shoulder blades out
of the way. And we’re going to do that. Finally, we don’t always get stuck forward
into flexion. We can actually get some rotation there as
well. Sometimes when you have that rotation, just
doing what I’m going to show you won’t necessarily get at it. So, you want to try to get the foam roller,
and we’re going to angle it this way, and angle it this way to try and get at any of
these imbalances with flexion and rotation together. But it’s really simple, guys. I’m going to do it first on Jesse, and more
importantly, I’ll show you how you can do it yourself with just a medicine ball and
foam roller and get rid of it every, single time. The very easy way to fix this if you have
access to a physical therapist or somebody that is skilled in doing this would be to
do this manual mobilization. Of course, on Jesse you can see he’s pretty
rounded through here, but what’s making it worse is that he’s got his arms up under his
head. So the first thing you want to do is take
them down to your sides. In here. Great. Now he’s opening this up and doing the second
thing we talked about, which was exposing this area a little more. Now I can work right on the thoracic spine. All I’m trying to do is get him to go into
extension. We can get extension by pushing down. We know to get – if it’s already rounded
this way, if I push down into that I can get extension. So, what I do is come up on top here. I’m going to have Jesse take a deep breath
in and as he breathes out, I’m going to push straight down. I’m not going to do it just yet. I’m going to push with the heels of my hands
in this V-shape here to try and mirror the direction of those transverse processes of
his vertebrae. I’m going to push down and in that way. Straight down and in. Down and in. Almost a little bit down and up. You ready? We’re going to see if we can hear the pop. Ready? JESSE: *exhales deeply* Oh. JEFF: Yes, we did. Then again. JESSE: *exhales deeply* JEFF: And down. Good. And then one more. Okay, nothing up there. How does it feel? Come on up. JESSE: Way better already. JEFF: See? Already extending better through here. JESSE: Yeah. JEFF: So, the idea is that we can get that. More importantly, how the hell do you do this
yourself? I’m going to show you how to do it step by
step. Again, what we just did there was, we took
this area where we know we were getting too much rounding and I had those hands placed
in like this, driving up, down, and up. Just to try and create some extension as I
pressed down and forward. How could you do that if you don’t have
someone’s extra set of hands? It’s actually not that difficult if you have
a foam roller and a ball. What we do is, the ball has to be substantially
heavy enough. This is a 40lb med ball. If you don’t have a ball you could use something
else. You could even put a bag full of some clothes,
or even a bag full of sand. Something that’s going to provide some weight
that you can get your arms around. Ideally, a medicine ball with some weight
would be great. Now what you do is take the medicine ball
and position yourself over the foam roller. Remember, I have my landmarks. I know that the bottom of my shoulder blades
is right there, as low as I’m going to go, and up into my shoulder height would be as
high as I’m going to go. Anywhere in between is fair game. So, if I take the ball, put it over my chest,
right on my chest, and wrap my arms around it, again, so we can take our arms into protraction
and expose the thoracic spine, not having it blocked by the shoulder blades in the back
like we showed on the skeleton. Now what I do is balance my feet here and
I’m going to let the ball come back and over. Obviously, if I had this ball resting right
here on the foam roller, when I got to that point the weight would pull it back over the
top. What I want to do is get it to do the same
thing to me. So, I have the ball right on top of my chest
and then I’m going to let it start to roll this way. As soon as it rolls here, down, like that. You might have heard a little bit of a pop
in my mid-back. Now I reposition, maybe go a little bit lower,
to the bottom area of that zone. I have it on my chest, I let it start to roll
back and down. Good. Then come up a little bit higher. Arms wrapped around, let the ball start to
roll, and down. Just like that. Now you come up and you have a lot more thoracic
extensions. You should be free here. If I were to go do a front squat, getting
in that front rack position would be very easy. If I was going to do an overhead press, maintaining
a tall thoracic spine would be easy. If I was going to do a bent over row, getting
the chest out because the thoracic spine is extended would be easy. That’s what you need to do. Now, let’s pretend – as I mentioned with
Jesse – let’s say there’s a rotational component, too. You get here, but you still feel a little
bit stiff. All you have to do is twist the foam roller
you’re on, still keep your body aligned straight ahead. So, I would still do the same thing with the
ball here, and now I’m working more on one side at an oblique angle. So, I take the same thing, I come back, and
down. And I can work up and down. If that doesn’t get it, we can turn it the
other way and go the other way. I’m still straight here and same deal. Just play with the angle of the foam roller. But I’m going to tell you most of the time
you’re just going to have to keep it straight across and you’re going to notice an immediate
improvement. Guys, I hope you’ve found this video helpful. This is something anybody can do, and this
is a very common problem. Restrictions into thoracic extension are extremely
common. Especially for lifters. They not only create bad posture, but they
create major limitations when you try to perform the exercises you do in the gym properly. So, you want to make sure you’re addressing
this. This is an easy way to do that. If you’re looking for programs where we put
the science back in strength you can find them all over at ATHLEANX.com. In the meantime, if you’ve found this video
helpful leave your comments and thumbs up below. Let me know what else you want me to cover
and I’ll do my best to do that for you. If you haven’t already done so, please click
‘subscribe’ and turn on your notifications so you never miss a video when I put one out. All right, guys. See you soon.

100 comments on “**CRAZY LOUD** Back Crack (INSTANT RELIEF!)

  1. ATHLEAN-X™ Post author

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  2. Kapil Bhardwaj Post author

    I have a small gym setup at mu home and stay fit , but i started this nagging pain under left shoulder blade , then i saw ur band pull apart exercise for pain and it really worked and the pain was gone , but whenever i dont do it for 2-3 days the pain comes back , what to do ??

  3. Ruben Rodriguez Post author

    Can you make a video for sciatic pain? Lower back and left leg have a lot of pain

  4. Natasha Thomson Post author

    ah-mazing. I figured out that someone could crack my back so got my partner to crack it for years. Now I can do it myself. Woop! I have always wondered how it is created though. I thought it was due to lack of exercise (sitting in an office 8 hrs a day -.- )

  5. WonderDoc, LLC Post author

    Jeff has crossed the line. Might have to unsubscribe and report to google. He should be fined or arrested for practicing physical medicine without a license. Anyone can stand on your back to get a crack just like anyone can reset a broken bone or dislocated shoulder. Some might get relief like in this video. But most will experience pain, strain and a dependency due to joint hypermobility. For those considering, do yourself a favor and leave it to the pros.

  6. BobSamurai Post author

    did this on a pool noodle, not big enough to get a lot of movement, but as soon as i laid back on it i heard a ripple of cracks. going to invest in one of these larger rollers. thanks for the video!

  7. nolimit _mf Post author

    Do you guys suggest a video on lower back pain and extreme stiffness, also some exercises for my knees hurting?

  8. Driving in Argentina *Fed Sher* Post author

    So pleasant either when someone does it to your back or doing it to somebody else… anyway I still find it kinda hard to feel the same way doing it all by myself…the closest to that feeling I could experience was…trying it against the back of a chair while seated, not bad ?

  9. Cam S Post author

    Why do the bones make a pop sound?? ?. I thought you would just be loosening up the muscles.

  10. Chris barry Post author

    Been lifting for a year following you videos. When I’m standing and put my arms over my head and lean my head back it feels like my sternum cracks. Sometimes I’ll wake up with discomfort in my sternum but after cracking it, the discomfort goes away. Any thoughts?

  11. Korup7ion Post author

    i get pretty stiff and tight in my upper back from cycling so this will help me out a lot, thank you

  12. Chris H Post author

    Hello Jeff, I like your videos that involve physical therapy as well as putting science behind the muscles ? If you don’t mind me asking, can you do more videos on shoulder impingement, shoulder pain, cracking/popping, rotator cuff, wrist pain/strain/injury? Love your channel. Thanks Chris.

  13. Rickky Bobby Post author

    I've been foam rolling for 5 years now and have always had trouble getting in at the upper back, rolling on tennis balls helps but I never thought to try holding a heavy bag to simulate a therapist applying pressure. Will give it a try

  14. fab q Post author

    The third one didn’t make a sound. So i went back and heard the first 2 again to be satisfied.

  15. simon martin Post author

    Jeff what the hell do I do if iv had saver pain in this hole area for the past 2 years? & this type of stuff doesn't work so good? Thanks

  16. Cars Carandang Post author

    I've been doing something similar to this when I feel tightness on my back. But recently, and idk why, when I do my upper body days, I get tightness that's even higher than what I can crack on my own. Even the cracks that my friend does for me doesn't work. I feel this tightness at the very top of my back, just below my nape. Is there a way to relieve this tightness as well?

  17. A Rod Post author

    I use the foam roller just about every night and so much pops. Since I started, my workout posture is better and my back kinks have substantially subsided. Love that thing.

  18. Anupam Persad Post author

    Sir can this technique also lead to injuries…my right arm is experiencing pain just after I used this.
    Thank You

  19. OskarKAwesome Post author

    I've been doing this since I was a kid by hanging off the round armrest of a couch. But I also have scoliosis so maybe I did it a bit wrong.

  20. Robert Aultman Post author

    I have a question Jeff. I have that mid life potbelly and I am trying to get rid of it as fast as as effectively as possible. What are your thoughts?

  21. Jesper Wigardt Post author

    You have a great channel and you post amazing content for all your subscribers and I am truly grateful for what you are doing. But as a chiropractor I do advice you not to adjust anyone and especially not try to teach people over your channel how to do it. I have met alot of people getting injured because of it because their friend tried it on them.

  22. some105 Post author

    Please do more videos like this! We definitely could use some videos from the point of a physio! Or maybe just us scoliosis bros 🙂

  23. william Welch Post author

    I do the kelly starett version with a 45lb plate which has been around forever but imma try these version too.

  24. Darren Garlough Post author

    Docters told me I have adult MD, where I believe my winging came from heavy weight training improperly when young. Any thoughts?

  25. Eli C Post author

    It's there any stretch that will do the same thing, without tools or another person? My wife is apparently "scared to hurt" me now…. Psh.

  26. FloridaGiant305 Post author

    Wow, They really got me with the Rener Gracie look a like in the thumbnail !! LOL Talk about Clickbait!!! SMH

  27. Heymi Foo Post author

    Hi Jeff, if you do a yoga downwards dog either to the floor or towards some furniture, like your hands on the edge of a table, you can pop the back real good too.

  28. Dom Issac Post author

    So I was able to get around the medicine ball problem for those of us who don’t have a home one.

    I laid a body pillow (any pillow really) over my chest then place a 25lbs dumbbell horizontally across my chest on the pillow.

    Then I did what you said in the video and it worked. ???? thanks for the video, it totally helps.

  29. saiyed zaidi Post author

    Easier way to this is just do a dead hang on a pull up bar wait for ten seconds move your head forward you’ll hear the cracks then move your head sideways more cracks then get off the pull up bar and Walk away felling rejuvenated try to believe it?

  30. alberto escamilla Post author

    Hello, thanks for all the work, I like it when Raymon appears it helps a lot to visualize. Also this video is very helpful and informative, thanks again

  31. Dominic Boyce Post author

    What’s up Jeff my name
    Is Dominic. Thank you for the advice and pin point accurate and honest service. You are making a difference.

  32. cobycracker Post author

    Dumbest thing ive seen. Go to a chiropractor who is trained in adjusting the spine. Dont do it yourself


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