Mobility Exercises to Include in Your Warm-Up – 9.30.13

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Improving Upper Body Mobility for Airchairs and Freezes

Range of motion in the upper body is equally important if not more so than the lower body. In the grand scheme of things, the majority of breakdancing is performed on our hands. This theme presents itself to several postural inefficiencies, namely the overly developed posture seen in a thoracic kyphosis.

I am in no way shape or form comparing Jay-Z, Lil Mama, and Alicia Keys to Run DMC!

While I don’t claim that the whole posturing of the hip hop culture is dysfunctional, I do want to express the fact that repetitive and chronic posture may present itself towards a less than stellar alignment of the scapula, and upper body. In fact, a slight thoracic kyphosis may be necessary for success in regards to bboying, as many power moves such as the backspin and windmill and their variations require small points of contact on the thoracic spine in order to successfully perform and transition into other moves.

So what are the implications that accompany thoracic kyphosis?

  • Anterior Tilt of the Scapula
  • Tight Pec Minor/Major (according to Janda’s Upper Body Cross Syndrome; also could contribute to an increase in glenohumeral instability)
  • Winging of the scapulae (weakness of rhomboids and lower trapezius)
  • Decrease in serratus anterior strength with regards to upward rotation of the scapula
  • Increase in upper trap and levator activation
  • Among many other muscular imbalances as a cause of this low load, repetitive posture.

Muscular Hoo-What? I’ll tilt your scapula buddy!

I can sense your frustration with all this anatomical geek speak. If you just want to dance, forget about guys, and dance in a circle around your pocketbooks and shoes, here is a quick video going over the items discussed above in relation to airchairs and freezes.


At the end of the day, there should be an aim towards:

1. Inhibition of the anterior chest wall, along with the upper trap/levators (via foam rolling)

2. Lengthening of the same muscle groups (side lying windmill + quadruped thoracic rotation)

3. Strengthening the scapular external rotators through scapular retraction and perhaps depression as well. (Think of maintaining a tall chest position, as if you were Superman.)

Following these guidelines will aim to reduce symptomatic tonicity in the chest and upper body muscles, and help facilitate healthy scapular movement for breakdancing.


Keep it funky y’all.


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