As the weather changes, we tend to curl up to get warm – on the couch, under covers, under layers of clothes, in our sleep. Lately I’ve been waking up feeling like my shoulders might actually be touching my ears.
These mobility exercises for your upper back, shoulders and chest call for a foam roller and a lacrosse ball or tennis ball. Settle down on the floor for some mobility this evening while you catch up on “West World.” There aren’t many of them, so spend a good 8-10 minutes on each area before moving on.
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- Thoracic spine foam rolling
- Deeper shoulder and back release with tennis / lacrosse ball
- Peck stretch with lacrosse ball
- Peck and shoulder floor stretch
Here’s what the exercises look like:
Thoracic spine foam rolling: Place the foam roller towards your mid to upper back, perpendicular to your spine. With your feet planted on the ground, move forward and back slowly to find areas that are tighter. When you find a spot, pause and breathe a few deep breaths there before continuing to roll.
Keep your hands behind your head for neck support. You can switch from your elbows out wide to elbows facing the ceiling for a different stretch. You’ll especially feel the stretch on your rhomboids and bottom of your trapezius.
Deeper shoulder and back release with tennis / lacrosse ball: For a deeper stretch in between your shoulders, place a tennis or lacrosse ball underneath one side of your mid-back, in between your spine and your shoulder blade on the right side. Use your left hand to support your head. For a deeper stretch, cross your right arm over your chest. Move around until you feel a spot that’s tight – this might be immediately – and breath deeply throughout.
Peck stretch with lacrosse ball: Stand up against a wall with a lacrosse ball right beside your armpit. Press your weight against the wall and move your shoulder around to work into your pectoralis minor muscles.
Peck and shoulder floor stretch: Lie on your stomach with your head turned to the left. Stretch your right arm straight out to the side, bend your left knee and place your foot behind you. For a deeper stretch, move your right arm to a 90-degree bend, but keep your elbow in line with your shoulder.
(Disclaimer: This workout is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor is it a replacement for seeking medical treatment or professional nutrition advice. Do not start any nutrition or physical activity program without first consulting your physician.)