The rib roll looks like a simple move. But as we know, simple is not always easy. This drill is a little less complicated than some of the exercises we put up on our page, but it is extremely effective at getting your thoracic spine some much needed mobility. The thoracic spine being the section between and slightly below your shoulder blades that your ribs attach to.
The rib roll is one of our favorite exercises to gain thoracic mobility because all it takes to do is some floor and your body, and it makes you focus on your breath. As you get down to the ground and lay on your side, you have to make sure that your hips and knees are flexed. Flexing your hips ensures that your hips and pelvis are not the area of your body that performs the actual rotation. This basically makes it so that the only area of your body that can rotate is your spine, and primarily the thoracic spine.
There are two major centers of rotation in your golf swing. They are your hips and your mid back (thoracic spine). These areas account for almost all the rotation into your backswing and follow through. Because of this, if you are lacking rotation in one of these areas, the body will try and get some rotation somewhere else. The likely area this occurs is your low back. This almost inevitably results in low back pain. Infact, when assessing a golfer with low back pain the two areas we look at first are the thoracic spine and hips, and then we get to the low back.
Perform 2-4 sets of 5 reps on each side
- Lay on your left side
- Bend your hips and knees to 90 degrees
- Place your left hand on the thigh of your right leg
- Place your right hand on your right chest
- Hold your legs down on the ground as you roll back to your right
- Try to get your back flat
- As you roll back be sure to breathe out to get as much mobility as you can
- Return to the start
Holding your legs down will make sure that you get as much separation in your hips and shoulders as possible. This will help with separation in the golf swing. Lastly, this drill is awesome if you’ve been sitting all day to help open up your chest and restore the much needed mobility and range of motion in your thoracic spine. It is also great as part of your golf warm up, to get your body ready for the upcoming round of golf.