Have you ever thought that foam rolling could actually increase your muscle productivity and decrease soreness after a workout? Well, it sure can. I’m here to tell you that if you commit to using a foam roller as part of your upper body stretch routine you are going to see some really great benefits! After reading through this and trying out these eight stretches, you’re going to discover that it’s not just about pumping iron and being done for the day…no, no, no..it’s more than that.
You gave your muscles the burn they deserved, now it’s time to give them the massage they deserve with that trusty foam roller of yours!
Why would you stretch out the upper body?
Well, there’s lots of great reasons I could put here, but just think about this for a second.
This being your upper body…it’s half of your body! There are so many muscle groups in the upper body. I”m talking about the deltoids (front shoulder), pectorals (chest), trapezius (upper back/back of shoulder), latissmus dorsi (mid back), biceps, triceps (front and back arm), brachioradialis (forearm)..and more.
Here’s are some pictures representing these muscle groups.
Some of my top reasons why you should stretch out your upper body…
- Stretching your upper body allows you more range of movement.
- Helps maintain muscle health and promote growth.
- Relieves soreness throughout many, many major muscle groups.
- Daily tasks will become easier to manage.
These muscles are so very important to being able to accomplish your daily tasks, you’ve gotta take care of them. Don’t neglect to stretch the upper half of your body….especially after an intense push and pull workout.
The foam roller exercises are below. Make sure to spend 3-5 minutes on each move!
Eight Awesome Upper Body Stretches!
1. Forearm Flexor Stretch
- Place your forearm on your roller.
- Press and slowly move back and forth on the front and back of your forearm.
- Use your other arm to add more pressure.
- Switch arms and repeat.
2. Bicep Roller
- Place your bicep on your roller.
- Add pressure and move your bicep back and forth.
- Make sure to get the full length of your bicep (upper and lower).
- Switch arms and repeat.
3. Tricep Press
- Place your tricep on your roller.
- Just like forearm and bicep, press on your roller with your tricep.
- Move back and forth slowly, feeling the massage/press of your muscle.
- Switch arms and repeat.
4. Thoracic Extension
- Place your roller where your shoulders would be.
- Lay down on it where your upper back and shoulders are laying across the roller.
- Place your hands behind your head and interlace your fingers.
- Raise your hips and torso to add pressure to your upper back.
- If you need more support, keep your hips on the floor.
5. Roller Angel
- Place your foam roller between your shoulder blades.
- It should be under you and all the way to your lower back.
- Move slowly side to side, massaging the upper and lower back.
- Move your hands from beside your head to past your head.
- Repeat this 5-10 times slowly.
6. LAT Presser
- Place your roller under your shoulders (should be on both shoulders)
- Roll to your right shoulder and press down onto that shoulder.
- Make sure to feel the press from the top, middle, and bottom of the back of your shoulder.
- Move over to the inner area right beside your shoulder blade as well.
- Switch to your left shoulder and repeat.
- As always, if you need support…move your whole body down to the floor.
7. Pectoral/Chest Release
- Move your roller to where it’s under your chest area. (Ladies make sure to focus on the upper chest, not lower )
- Support yourself with your arms and move area the pectoral (chest) area feeling the massage.
- Move over to the other side of your chest.
- Don’t forget to breathe through this.
8. Upper Back Knead
- This is very similar to the thoracic extension.
- Place your roller under you and lay on it where your roller is under your upper back.
- Move your hands to your upper legs.
- Knead (roll) back and forth slowly from the top of your upper back to the bottom of your upper back.
- Don’t go past where your elbows are.
Consistency is Key
Will your muscles benefit through this workout? Yes, absolutely! But remember, nothing will get more manageable or less strained if you don’t stay consistent with it. If you don’t make it a habit to foam roll these large and necessary muscle groups, you are more prone to injury and experiencing more pain. If you listen to your body and devote time to rolling out these major muscles, you are going to feel the fruits of your labor! This will, in turn, give your next workout a huge boost with less soreness.
You can’t do this routine once and expect it to improve all of your aches and pains. Just like yoga, pilates, and traditional stretching, you’ve got to put this into practice 2-3 times a week for it to really catch on. Your body will start to respond and you will feel the change, a change for the better. Your soreness will be so much less than it was and your muscles will thank you! Can you hear them now?
Biceps: (In a Whisper) Thank you!
Me: You’re quite welcome!
Develop a Schedule
So, once you’ve achieved some consistency (maybe you’ve done the routine a few times)..now’s the time to make it part of the schedule of your workouts! I would recommend performing these stretches after you’ve finished your workout (upper body workouts.) If you “warm-up” with this sort of routine, you could damage some muscles. That’s because it’s not good to stretch cold muscles! If you still would rather press into these muscles before a workout, I would suggest you go for a quick run or jog in place (jumping jacks work really well also). Get the blood pumping and then go for it!
Hopefully, this unique stretch routine for your upper body has shed light on how important taking care of your upper body is. Your foam roller is sitting there….grab it and get rolling!
If you have any questions or concerns please email me. Please comment below and let me know if you tried any of the exercises and if they brought you comfort. Also, let me know if this routine has helped reduce your soreness after a tough upper body workout.
To your health,