Foam Roller Shoulder Exercises for Better Range of Motion

June 21, 2013 | Nick Tumminello

Must See Sports Injuries Videos


Many athletes foam roll their lower bodies, but neglect the upper half. (Learn how to foam roll your upper back.) It's especially important to foam roll your shoulders to help protect the joints and maintain their large range of motion.

How Foam Rolling Works

Before we get into specific drills, it's important for you to understand what foam rolling is doing (and not doing) for you.

Many people claim that foam rolling lengthens fascia (i.e., connective tissue within the muscles) and improves tissue quality. This is unlikely, because to "lengthen" your fascia, it must lengthen your bones. (Learn more about the benefits of foam rolling.) It's more probable that rolling causes neuromuscular relaxation. Dr. Carl DeRosa, author of Mechanical Low Back Pain and Mechanical Shoulder Pain, discusses this concept in the videos below.

In other words, self-massage techniques like foam rolling may stimulate your brain to relax your muscles. Your muscles then become more tolerant when stretching dynamically and statically.

With all that being said, you can argue, "Who cares how foam rolling works as long as it helps me feel better?" And the resounding consensus is that foam rolling will improve your mobility and help accelerate the recovery process.

Foam Roller Shoulder Exercises

Now that you have a better grasp of the benefits and limitations of foam rolling, let's get into practical techniques.

You can perform these exercises before or after a workout. Roll slowly over the muscle, and make sure to focus on tender areas.

Thoracic Spine Foam Rolling Drill

Your shoulders and thoracic spine are an integral unit. If you lack sufficient t-spine mobility, your natural shoulder range of motion may be affected, which can impair technique when throwing or performing an exercise.

Shoulder, Chest and Biceps Rolling Drill

This drill works directly on your shoulders and the muscles that act on them.

Notice that we use a med ball instead of a foam roller, because it allows for better maneuverability, and the smaller surface can target smaller muscles. You can use a foam roller, but the med ball is more effective.

Topics: PREHAB | SHOULDERS
Nick Tumminello
- Nick Tumminello, known as the "Trainer of Trainers," is the owner of Performance University, which provides hybrid fitness training for athletes and educational programs for...
Nick Tumminello
- Nick Tumminello, known as the "Trainer of Trainers," is the owner of Performance University, which provides hybrid fitness training for athletes and educational programs for...
Must See
Patrick Willis' Homegrown Off-Season Workout Patrick Willis' Homegrown Off-Season Workout
Views: 1,230,166
Jadeveon Clowney on Making Big Hits Jadeveon Clowney on Making Big Hits
Views: 6,590,448
Margus Hunt Benches 385 Pounds for Five Reps Margus Hunt Benches 385 Pounds for Five Reps
Views: 21,160,760

Featured Videos

Tobin Heath Closed-Space Dribbling Tobin Heath Closed-Space Dribbling Views: 1,175,905
Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Views: 71,092
Basketball Shooting Drill With Kevin Love: 5 Spots, 5 Shots Basketball Shooting Drill With Kevin Love: 5 Spots, 5 Shots Views: 245,612
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 5,845,858
Colby Lewis's Four-Seam Fastball Technique Colby Lewis's Four-Seam Fastball Technique
Views: 5,017,563
Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,499,251
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 11,442,976
Two-Ball Dribbling Drill With John Wall Two-Ball Dribbling Drill With John Wall
Views: 3,362,836

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
4 Sports Massage Techniques to Relieve Tight Muscles

4 Sports Massage Techniques to Relieve Tight Muscles

Tight Muscles? Use These Four Sports Massage Techniques For Fast Relief! By Jim Carpentier, CSCS Athletes need good hands and fingers for making a...

STUDY: Imaginary Exercise Helps You Recover Faster From Injury

STUDY: Imaginary Exercise Helps You Recover Faster From Injury

Dry Needling: Powerful, Drug-Free Pain Relief for Athletes

Dry Needling: Powerful, Drug-Free Pain Relief for Athletes

Prevent ACL Injuries With This Hamstring-Focused Workout

Prevent ACL Injuries With This Hamstring-Focused Workout

How to Keep Your Feet Healthy On and Off the Field

How to Keep Your Feet Healthy On and Off the Field

6 Steps for Recovering From a Season-Ending Injury

6 Steps for Recovering From a Season-Ending Injury

6 Simple Tips to Prevent Knee Injuries

6 Simple Tips to Prevent Knee Injuries

Megan Rapinoes Secret to Staying Healthy

Megan Rapinoe

5 Bodyweight Exercises to Prevent Baseball Injuries

5 Bodyweight Exercises to Prevent Baseball Injuries

Why Tommy John Surgery Is Ruining Pitchers

Why Tommy John Surgery Is Ruining Pitchers

How to Train With Running Blisters

How to Train With Running Blisters

Quarterbacks: 4 Tips to Keep Your Throwing Shoulder Healthy

Quarterbacks: 4 Tips to Keep Your Throwing Shoulder Healthy

Sports Hernias: What You Need to Know

Sports Hernias: What You Need to Know

Pectoral Tendon Ruptures and Injury Prevention

Pectoral Tendon Ruptures and Injury Prevention

Avoid ACL Injuries in Softball with PREP

Avoid ACL Injuries in Softball with PREP

5 Tips to Intelligently Train Through Lower Back Pain

5 Tips to Intelligently Train Through Lower Back Pain

Basketball Players: Prevent Ankle Sprains With These 3 Exercises

Basketball Players: Prevent Ankle Sprains With These 3 Exercises

How to Prevent Baseball Injuries During the Off-Season

How to Prevent Baseball Injuries During the Off-Season

STUDY: Female Athletes Are at Higher Risk of Overuse Injuries

STUDY: Female Athletes Are at Higher Risk of Overuse Injuries

Avoid Low-Back Pain With These 7 In-Season Exercises

Avoid Low-Back Pain With These 7 In-Season Exercises

Evan Gattis's Protection-Enhanced Catcher's Helmet

Evan Gattis's Protection-Enhanced Catcher's Helmet

Connective Tissue: The Key to Preventing ACL Injuries

Connective Tissue: The Key to Preventing ACL Injuries

Coaches: Prevent Injuries With the Recovery Management Tool

Coaches: Prevent Injuries With the Recovery Management Tool

4 Strategies to Prevent Tommy John Surgery

4 Strategies to Prevent Tommy John Surgery

The Future of Sports Injury Rehabilitation

The Future of Sports Injury Rehabilitation

7 Ways to Fix Back Pain

7 Ways to Fix Back Pain

Achilles Tendon Ruptures: Prevention and Recovery

Achilles Tendon Ruptures: Prevention and Recovery

The Secret Weapon Powering Stephen Curry's Resurgence

The Secret Weapon Powering Stephen Curry's Resurgence

10 Ways to Fix Back Pain

10 Ways to Fix Back Pain

Eliminate Elbow Pain with These 3 Methods

Eliminate Elbow Pain with These 3 Methods

How to Treat Piriformis Syndrome

How to Treat Piriformis Syndrome

6 Ways to Prevent Common Sports Injuries

6 Ways to Prevent Common Sports Injuries

Outsmart Injury With These 4 Predictive Tests

Outsmart Injury With These 4 Predictive Tests

Reducing Low-Back Pain: What You Need to Know

Reducing Low-Back Pain: What You Need to Know

3 Steps to Prevent Soccer ACL Injuries

3 Steps to Prevent Soccer ACL Injuries

Preventing ACL Injuries in Soccer Players

Preventing ACL Injuries in Soccer Players

4 Tips to Relieve Muscle Stiffness

4 Tips to Relieve Muscle Stiffness

5 Things You Can Do to Prevent Muscle Injuries

5 Things You Can Do to Prevent Muscle Injuries

8 of the Most Ridiculous Off-Field Athlete Injuries of All Time

8 of the Most Ridiculous Off-Field Athlete Injuries of All Time

How to Prevent In-Season Volleyball Injuries

How to Prevent In-Season Volleyball Injuries

Predicting the Impact of DeMarco Murray's Hand Injury

Predicting the Impact of DeMarco Murray's Hand Injury

Impressive Advances in ACL Rehab

Impressive Advances in ACL Rehab

2 Ways to Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt

2 Ways to Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt

YardBarker