Upper back flexibility using the foam roller, level 2.

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So this is a continuation of getting some good movement going in the upper back.  Essential for overhead work and also essential to maintain youth and beauty in a dynamic posture. Last week we worked with the foam roller in line with the spine and then across it, but rolling up and down the upper back.  This week we slowly roll up and down with the roller across the upper back, starting near the bottom ribs and working slowly upwards towards the top of the upper back.  This poor man has been put on a 6″ foam roller.  In this case, smaller is better and 4″ is more than adequate, with a pool noodle being even better.  I think the man enduring the mobilization is very sweet; most people doing this mobilization for the first time find parts of it very uncomfortable.

The key is to relax and exhale when lowering.  Round the upper back without strain as you lift, really relaxing as you lower down.  Try to keep the low back relaxed as well and near the floor and, as flexibility increases, reduce any movement up and down with the low back.  And do support your head in your hands so there is no strain on the neck.

Just as with last week, not every upper back will suit being bent backwards.  If in doubt, do get yourself checked out by a chiropractor/osteopath or remedial masseuse.

If you want to buy a foam roller, then the price can vary hugely.  You may find searching for a ‘stability roll’ yields a cheaper result.  The Physical Company sells 4″ stability rolls for around £10.  Despite owning a 4″ and a 6″ roller, – my job has something to do with this – I use a pool noodle since it is softer and I can relax more.

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