In the last blog we posted foam rolling exercises to relieve, lengthen and strengthen legs. Now let’s move up the body and take a closer look at our posture.

I have yet to see one client who will not benefit from working on their posture through either stretching, corrective exercises and/or foam rolling. We live in a world that is constantly forcing us to hunch over our upper backs, round our shoulders and stick our heads forward. Lovely picture… This leads to short tight muscles creating tension (such as pecs, traps, shoulders, neck, and back) and long weak muscles not doing their job supporting our structure. This effect creates imbalances and compensations in the body that lead to a host of problems including:

  • Headaches
  • Neckaches
  • Chronic Tension in head, back and shoulders
  • Pain and discomfort
  • Upper or lower back pain
  • Poor Breathing – poor lung capacity, short breaths and tightness (This is one people don’t think about but affects everything you do!)
  • Hip pain and imbalance
  • Poor posture – that’s just ugly besides being disfunctional
  • and the list continues….

Here are a few of my favourite foam rolling exercises you can do at home or at the gym/studio to balance out your training and lifestyle. Remember it’s better to swap 20 minutes for stretching than to keep pushing weight for 20 minutes. You are already compressing your joints all day long so let’s start to open things up for better effeciency!

Thoracic Spine Extension (aka: Breathe bigger, stand taller!)

For: Extension of spine / lengthening and decompression

Goal: to improve flexibilty and ROM in upper spine and Improve posture espcially for those who slump forward or with thoracic kyphosis (hunchback) and forward head posture. Also those with limited range of motion or a feeling of being stuck or moving as a block.

Notes: Horizontal Roller.

  1. From supine position place fingers behind head gently, tongue on roof of mouth
  2. Start mid back at base of thoracic spine. Engage lower abdominals and slowly lift glutes from floor while lowering back of head towards the floor. You may need to use a yoga block or towel if ROM is very limited. Inhale as you extend the spine and exhale as you come up slowly. Practice 4-8 count breathing then lengthen the count.
  3. Exhale and engage lower abdominals as you come up and move the roller up an inch towards your upper back and shoulders. Repeat the sequence.

Progressions: If you are able to lower your head to floor and glutes to floor do so. Slowly extend arms to sides leading with long fingers. RELAX ribcage and allow breath to flow naturally focusing on lengthening through crown of head and fingers.

Thoracic Spine & Pectoralis (aka: heart opener, posture corrector!)

Goal to open up chest (pectoralis) and front of shoulders (anterior deltoid). Great for those with rounded shoulders (Computers anyone?), thoracic kyphosis (rounded upper back) and tight chest (asthma, breathing issues often linked) or overtrained muscles

Notes: Vertical Roller

  1. From supine position start by giving yourself a hug, arms crossed in front of body.
  2. Extend arms to sides leading with long fingers. RELAX ribcage and allow breath to flow naturally focusing on lengthening through crown of head and fingers.
  3. Inhale as you lengthen arms overhead performing a sweeping motion, exhale and come back to center. (Lengthens Latissimus Dorsi as well)

Latissimus Dorsi Release

Goal: Lengthen latissimus dorsi

Notes: Horizontal Roller

  1. From side laying position place the roller at the base of your armpit or the top of the lats
  2. Using your legs, slowly move the body forwards and backwards massaging the lats.
  3. Keep upper body and legs relaxed and focus on exhaling as you lengthen. Put arms wherever you are most comfortable.

Rotator Cuff (Shoulder) Release (aka “stuck shoulders!”)

Goal: Improve Rotator cuff flexibility and release tightness through shoulder.

Notes: Horizontal Roller

  1. From side laying position place the roller at the base of your armpit or the top of the lats. Roll onto your back slightly so you are at an angle.
  2. Using your legs, slowly move the body forwards and backwards massaging the lats.
  3. Keep upper body and legs relaxed and focus on exhaling as you lengthen. Put arms wherever you are most comfortable.

Rhomboids (aka upper back tension!)

Goal: Lengthen rhomboids, stretch tight areas after exercise

Notes: Horizontal Roller

  1. From side laying position place the roller at the base of your armpit/ top of the lats
  2. Keep fingers behind the ears and gently roll elbow towards the roller in front of you as you exhale. Inhale and open your chest to the sky
  3. Relax the upper body and legs as you repeat slow movement.

Ribcage Mobilization (aka breathe better!)

Goal: Increase range of movement through spine and ribcage

Notes: Horizontal Roller

  1. From supine position start by giving yourself a hug, arms crossed in front of body.
  2. Drop arms to one side of your body while gently dropping knees to opposite side.
  3. Relax in that position for a few breaths then exhale as you cross into opposing position.
  4. Repeat for 1-3 minutes focusing on breathing as you release.

For legs and lower body visit our blog online!

Another great help is getting a periodic or routine massage if you suffer from chronic tightness. We are pleased to introduce Alexandra Patrick as our new RMT. See her complete bio or book by email today at pushfitstudio@gmail.com.

Until then remember to balance your training!

Quick poll – what do you find are your biggest challenges or hurdles with injuries and what have you done to find relief? We love to hear from you!