1. Upper Back Foam Roll
Upper back muscles collect a lot of tension throughout the day and show signs of fatigue by poor posture. Using a foam roller on this area can help to relax the muscles and release the tension.
- Lie on your back with the foam roller under your upper back, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor. Place your arms behind your head to support the neck. Use your legs to lift your hips off the floor.
- Roll up and down your upper back between your shoulders and the bottom of the lat muscles. If you feel a spot that’s tender or tight, spend more time working in that area. Perform the rolling movement for 15 to 30 seconds.
2. Lats Foam Roll
The latissimus dorsi is the largest muscle in the back. When it feels relaxed, your shoulders and entire back move more freely. If you’re looking for a do-it-yourself massage, the foam roller is just the thing.
- Lie on your right side with the foam roller under your upper back and extend your right arm overhead.
- Roll up and down the outer edge of your back. If you feel a spot that’s tender or tight, spend more time working in that area. Perform the rolling movement for 15 to 30 seconds and then repeat on the left side.
3. Dynamic Overhead Shoulder Reach
Use this movement to warm up your shoulder and neck muscles before moving on to specific shoulder stretches. You can do this exercise seated or standing. Remember to hold your abdominal muscles strong, back straight, and shoulder blades pulled back.
- Begin in a seated position with your feet flat on the floor and hands on your thighs. Alternating your arms, reach as high as possible without changing your posture. Repeat with each arm 5 to 10 times.
- For the final movement, reach both arms up toward the ceiling and repeat 5 to 10 times.
4. Lying Side Reach on Stability Ball
Here’s a stretch you don’t know you need until you try it. Deeper than a standing overhead reach, the stability ball allows you to completely lengthen the latissimus dorsi from shoulder to low back. The extra stretch you feel in the shoulder and mid-torso shows how these muscles work together.
- Lie on your right side with your torso over the stability ball. Maintain balance with your right hand on the floor and your right leg extended. Bend your left leg over the right for support.
- Raise your left arm over your head. Reach as far over as possible until you feel a stretch along your left side. Repeat the stretch on the opposite side with your right arm overhead.