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-   -   Upper Middle Back Discomfort (http://www.catalystathletics.com/forum/showthread.php?t=6482)

Simon Lowell 01-13-2012 08:27 AM

Upper Middle Back Discomfort
I am experiencing discomfort in my upper middle back due to weight training. Of course since it is not pain (yet) I would prefer not to stop training not to lose my hard earned gains. Has anyone had similar problems? What have you done and do you have any good tips on easing or getting rid of this discomfort, maybe there is a good stretching technique??

many thanks for your help and support,


Greg Everett 01-13-2012 10:04 AM

That's pretty vague.... Can you give more of a description of the pain, when it occurs, when/how it started, etc?

Likely you have a pretty bound up thoracic spine, so if that's the case, spend a good amount of time before and after training foam rolling the upper back, trying to mobilize the spine around the roll. You can also get a half roller or roll up a towel and lie on it with the roll perpendicular to the spine and just relax over it, moving it along the T-spine every 30-60 sec or so to a new spot.

Donald Lee 01-13-2012 03:09 PM

It may be a knot in your rhomboids, levator scapula, or the erectors.

If you choose the route of the foam roller, you should also hug yourself and open up your back and roll in between the shoulder blades and the spine, and whatever other area you find that feels good to work.

The way I like to get around things like that is to just find a bar that's at the appropriate height and dig my back into it.

After doing the above, stretching the lats and neck will probably be helpful.

For the neck, the first stretch and the stretch at the 3 min mark will probably be most helpful, although all the stretches are good.


Simon Lowell 01-15-2012 10:26 AM

Many thanks for your comments Greg & Donald your advice is already helping especially 'hugging myself'

Greg excuse my being vague, I think you are spot on re having a stiff thoracic spine, my description would be that it is more of a discomfort around the T5 area than outright pain which occurs towards the evening and not during training. I train every morning 0630 alternating between resistance and cardio have never experienced this discomfort during training. The first time i noticed the discomfort was around a year ago strangely enough during an evening session of yoga. I have also noticed that the more I stretch the more pronounced the discomfort becomes.

As a note I have never being flexible as a person no matter how much I stretch.

Many thanks once again


Keith Miller 01-16-2012 10:40 AM

I have recently found out that I have a pretty stiff middle thoracic, and have been foam rolling the area before workout. However, I found that this loosened the area up to the point of not being able to stabilize weight overhead very well. Almost felt too loose. Is this common??

I'm going to continue, but maybe only every other day. Thoughts??

Greg Everett 01-16-2012 10:44 AM

Keith -

Not surprising, but I'd lean more toward strengthening as you mobilize rather than reducing mobilization. If you can keep pace with the strength to stabilize it, the improved mobility there will help you improve the structure overhead and eventually support more weight. Certainly being hypermobile is counterproductive, but that's pretty hard to achieve especially coming from a hypomobile starting point.

Keith Miller 01-16-2012 10:46 AM

Greg, thanks, that's pretty much what I thought too. What exercises can I do to strengthen that area?? Overhead squats, drop snatches, or maybe just plain rows??

Greg Everett 01-16-2012 10:51 AM

You can try bent rows with an emphasis on extending the upper back and even doing static holds at the top; press and push press behind the neck; close-grip overhead squats moreso than snatch-grip ohs, but both will be helpful. Even back extensions on a hyper machine can help if you focus on extending the upper back and can use some weight.

Keith Miller 01-16-2012 10:56 AM

Will do!! Thanks. Sorry to hijack thread OP!! :D

Donald Lee 01-16-2012 03:36 PM

Regarding the back extension, I made up an exercise where you do a back extension mixed with a DB prone Y or doing a prone Y/ext. rot. I have found both beneficial for opening up the T-spine and training multiple postural muscles at once. You'd have to use a // to the ground back extension machine, Roman chair, or GHD though, not the 45 back extension machines.

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