Images of a woman performing the Cat Camel Thoracic Mobility Exercise

Cat Camel Exercise – Osteopath Dr. Rebecca Naylor explains the Thoracic Mobility exercise

What is the Cat Camel Exercise?

Following on from our blog on the thoracic spine and the thoracic towel stretch, the Cat Camel back exercise, or also known as happy cat/angry cat, is a gentle mobilisation for your spine and surrounding muscles. It is a perfect addition to your stretching, strengthening and mobility routine for any desk worker or gym goer.


If you are experiencing stiffness or tightness in your back, the cat camel exercise can assist in improving function and mobility through your back and improve overall posture. This can be performed daily or as prescribed by your Osteopath or Myotherapist.


** If you suffer knee or wrist pain consult your Osteopath or Myotherapist as to whether this exercise is suitable for you. **

So how do you do the Cat Camel Exercise?

Firstly, ensure that you are comfortable being on your hands and knees on the floor, if need be, putting a pillow or something soft under your knees may help.


  1. Get onto your hands and knees – ensuring that knees are hip width apart and hands are directly beneath your shoulders and back is in a neutral position.
  2. The Cat position, also known as the happy cat position, is gently sinking your back and tummy down towards the floor (or visualise sticking your bottom out), followed by your chest and slowly and gently lifting your head up at the same time (as shown in the top image). You want to focus on your lower back dropping first before your chest and your head is the last thing to lift up. Make sure you are slow and controlled and focused on your breathing.
  3. The Camel Position, also known as the angry cat position (the image on the bottom) begins by gently tucking your chin to your chest, arching your upper back first and pushing arms into the floor as you are doing so then tucking your bottom under your tail bone to finish . Think of an angry cat or a camel with a hump. Make sure you are slow and controlled and focused on your breathing.
  4. You can repeat this as many times as comfortable or as prescribed by your Osteopath or Myotherapist
  5. This should not cause you any pain or discomfort while doing this exercise. If you are, cease the activity and consult your Osteopath or Myotherapist about it.


If you are experiencing stiffness, muscle tension or pain or would like to know what type of stretching is suitable for you and which stretches you should be doing contact the clinic today to make an appointment with one of our friendly Osteopaths or Myotherapists for an assessment.
Call (03) 9570 3388