Best 5 Foam Roller Exercises to Improve your Posture
There is a lot of talk in physiotherapy circles about posture, and if poor posture actually causes back pain and other musculoskeletal issues. While the current consensus and research suggests that posture is unrelated to back pain, many of our own physiotherapists and osteopaths at Surrey Physio disagree.
The problem is simple, we end up becoming rounded with our posture, sometimes called kyphotic. This is a big issue as it places muscle strain on our neck and lower back. It can also cause stiffness in the spine. Here is an experiment: try flexing forwards from your waist then try rotating. You’ll notice that your levels of rotation in your spine are significantly reduced compared to standing with a straight posture.
Foam rolling is a brilliant way to improve your posture. Does it work? Absolutely. It’s simple biomechanics. Poor posture is generally considered to be rounded, or kyphotic. Foam rolling encourages extension to the spine, which is fantastic to reverse our sedentary lifestyles. Do patients benefit? They absolutely seem to benefit and report feeling more mobile. The foam roller brings a lot of therapeutic relief.
Let’s look at Surrey Physio’s Top 5 Foam Roller Exercises for Posture:
1. Foam Roller Spine and Shoulder Stretch
Go onto all fours, and place your hands on a foam roller. Gently contract your deep abdominal muscles to maintain a neutral lumbar spine as your roll the roller forwards. Go as far as feels comfortable to create a stretch to the shoulders and spine. Hold the stretch for thirty seconds, and repeat three times.
2. Foam Roller 120-Degrees Pec Stretch
Lie on a 10cm diameter by 90cm length foam roller along your spine. Bend your knees. Take your arms up to 120 degrees and keeping your elbows bent, take your arms out to the side feeling a stretch across your chest. This is a pectoral muscle stretching exercise. Hold the stretch for thirty seconds, and repeat three times.
3. Foam Roller Thoracic Extension Vertical
Place a foam roller vertically under your spine and lie flat on your back with your knees bent. To make the exercise harder, you can drop your neck to the floor, or straighten your legs. You can also lay your arms out to the side. Start with a 4-inch (10cm) diameter roller and progress to a 6-inch (15cm) roller. Hold this position for one minute and repeat three times. This exercise can help improve mobility to the spine and improve posture.
4. Foam Roller Thoracic Extension Horizontal
Place a foam roller under your spine and lie flat on your back with your knees bent. You can place the roller anywhere along the upper back, but one of the best places is right underneath the shoulder blades. Slowly roll your spine over the foam roller, and you will feel it pushing up into your back. Repeat ten times. Start with a 4 inch (10cm) diameter roller and progress to a 6 inch (15cm) roller. This exercise can help improve mobility to the spine and improve posture.
5. Foam Roller Thoracic Extension
Sit on the floor with your knees bent, and place a foam roller just above your lower back. Cross your arms over your chest. Extend your spine over the foam roller. This is an extension mobilisation for the spine. Hold this position for one minute and repeat three times.
At Surrey Physio, we often use foam roller exercises to improve mobility and extension to the spine. Our physios here can guide you on the best exercises for you. We can also help you with correct technique, and guide you on the most appropriate size for the roller. We’ll also let you know what else you can do to strengthen your back as part of the posture improvement process.
(If you are a patient needing treatment for poor posture, call Surrey Physio to book a telephone/video consultation with one of our expert physios or osteopaths, or book in face-to-face for an appointment. You can call us on 0208 685 6930 or book online by clicking the link at the top of the page.
Therapists reading this page, please go to the outstanding software Rehab My Patient – the best exercise prescription software for osteopaths, physios and sports therapists to prescribe foam roller exercises www.rehabmypatient.com).