Thoracic extension on a roller

Thoracic extension on a roller

Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Thoracic extension on a roller is a great mid back mobility exercise. Add it to your routine if you suffer with neck or shoulder pain and tightness. It works well with the thoracic roll out exercise, especially if this is performed first.

Set Up:

  • sit on the floor with your hips and knees bent and feet flat on the floor,
  • put the roller about 40cm behind you, on the floor, perpendicular to your body.
  • lay back on the roller so that it sits at the base of your shoulder blades.
  • then put your hands behind your head, lacing your fingers and keeping elbows pointing forward.
thoracic extension on a roller


  1. take a breathe in and as you breathe out, slowly lower your upper body towards the floor.
  2. your hands should be supporting your head,
  3. just move in the range that is comfortable.
  4. return to the starting position and then slide your buttocks a little further along the floor away from the roller. This is so that the roller is now positioned around one vertabrae higher on your thoracic spine.
  5. breathe in and again, as you slowly breathe out, lower your upper body towards the floor.
  6. repeat steps 4-6 twice more.


  • thoracic extension with a roller can be quite an intense exercise. If it is too uncomfortable, stop. Go to thoracic roll out instead.
  • you may hear a pop or click, this is okay. It is just a joint being released.
  • make sure you support your neck with your hands throughout the thoracic extension movement.
  • don’t hold your breath