Rotation. Rotation. Rotation.

Rotational exercises are all the rage in keeping fit…Twisting is one of the basic primal movements; we want to work our abs, we want a stronger core, but do we want to shred our discs and damage vertebrae?

Before you attempt your med ball rotational throws, Russian twists, or swing a golf club there are few finer points of spinal rotation to consider:

Spinal rotation strengthening exercises should be done with rotation of the thoracic spine…keeping minimal movement in the lumbar spine.

That said, you do not want to “lock” any portion of your spine in place, like the lumbar or fix your hips, the whole spine should move sequentially.

Spinal rotation improves with hip rotators that are stretched and hips that are mobile.  If your internal and external hip rotation is compromised, you will be forced to rotate more in your lumbar spine, which can stress your discs.

Basically…if your mid- back, (your thoracic spine) is tight, then your low back, and your cervical spine will pay the price.  Remember, as the great PT Shirley Sahrmann said…"You get what you train.” (The correct exercise performed incorrectly is a BAD exercise!  Meaning if you train with crap form, you will be stuck with that crap form in your sport, or in life).

To summarize:  If you do not have thoracic spine and hip mobility…go get some!