Articulation: figure of 8

An exercise to mobilise the upper back

This exercise is primarily for improving movement in the upper back. You won’t feel much of a stretch, but that doesn’t mean it’s not working. You should start to feel a bit looser by the end of it.

Link your fingers together, and place your hands behind your head or neck. Bring your elbows as close together as you can. Use your elbows to draw figures of 8, or write a phone number, draw the alphabet- whatever you like as long as there is variation. The movements should be slow, and the shapes you draw with your elbows should be of varying sizes. If you feel that a certain point of the movement is more stiff, then you can target that point by going over it a few times.

The reason your arms are in this position is to stop the neck from doing the movement. Your arms and neck should be moving as a unit. If you can visualise the individual joints through the back, then try to target either the stiffest ones, or work your way through from the top of the back to just above the small of your back. If the movement seems to be coming more from your lower back, you may benefit from sitting down while you do the exercise.


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