While a foam roller can be used on almost every part of the body, one of the most common areas of use is the back. Our backs have a tough job. They protect and hold our spines. Most of all, they are subjected to a lot of stress in one form or another. It is essential to take care of our backs by learning proper foam rolling techniques and exercises. Included in this article are foam roller exercises for the back.
To do this exercise, place the foam roller underneath the upper back parallel to the spine. Lay flat on the roller for up to a minute and a half ensuring that it is not causing any excessive pain. Another form of this exercise is to place the roller perpendicular across the upper back just underneath the neck. Cross the arms across the chest and breathe normally. Lower your head to the ground, allowing the neck to relax across the foam roller. Move the foam roller up and down a few centimeters. For more comfort, your knees can be bent and placed on the ground. For a progressed form of this stretch, place the arms overhead.
Latissimus Dorsi Release
This exercise is aimed at helping to improve the Latissimus Dorsi flexibility. To do this exercise, place the roller underneath the side of your body. With your legs, slowly roll your body backwards and forwards allowing the roller to massage and work the side of the upper back. Stay relaxed and breathe normally. Repeat for up to a minute and a half, given that it does not cause excessive pain.
Rotator Cuff Release
This exercise is designed to increase flexibility of the rotator cuff. With the foam roller placed underneath your shoulder and slightly on your side, slowly move the body backwards and forwards using the roller to massage the shoulder blade area. Stay relaxed and breathe normally. Repeat this exercise for up to one and a half minutes. This can be performed with the hands across the chest or above the head.
Thoracic Spine Roll
This exercise works well to relieve tension in the upper back and help to improve posture. Position the foam roller perpendicular across the back directly underneath the shoulder blades. With your feet flat on the floor, slowly roll up and down to the top of your shoulder blades. When you want more pressure, increase the body weight on the foam roller. If you detect a tight spot, hold for 30 seconds to allow the muscle to relax.
Lower Back Rolling
While some experts recommend that you do not roll on the lower back, others say that it is safe. If you are experiencing back pain and would like to use the foam roller for relief, start out simple and small. Try rolling the sides of your lower back. With the foam roller placed underneath your lower back, come onto your side while still ensuring the side of your lower back is on the roller. Carefully roll up and down the roller, focusing on any tight areas. Rotate sides after two minutes. One underestimated area that can cause back pain is the glutes. When the glutes and the hips are tight, this can lead to lower back pain. To minimize this, sit on the foam roller and slowly roll up and down the glutes.
If you believe that foam rolling the lower back isn’t a problem, place the foam roller underneath the ribcage. Rolling lightly, roll down to your hips. Go back and forth several times for up to two minutes. If you experience intense pain, lighten the pressure by reducing body weight on the roller. If you continue to experience pain, you may want to skip rolling your lower back altogether.
For many people, foam rolling may be intimidating. However, with a few simple steps, you can be on your way to a good massage and an even better stress relief. Using the foam roller on the back is one of the easiest ways to start learning how to use a foam roller. Grab one and get started!