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...

Featured Videos

Tim Tebow's NFL Off-Season Workout Tim Tebow's NFL Off-Season Workout Views: 153,019
Path to the Pros 2015: Trae Waynes Path to the Pros 2015: Trae Waynes Views: 80,502
Path to the Pros 2015: Marcus Mariota Path to the Pros 2015: Marcus Mariota Views: 1,270,518
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

Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds
Views: 43,626,320
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 12,170,372
Colin Kaepernick's Core Workout Colin Kaepernick's Core Workout
Views: 896,683
Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill
Views: 6,866,256
Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,501,395

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
6 Stretches to Alleviate Lower-Back Pain

6 Stretches to Alleviate Lower-Back Pain

6 Stretches to help alleviate your low back pain Hamstring When your hamstrings aren't firing properly, your low back muscles will compensate and put...

Reducing Low-Back Pain: What You Need to Know

Reducing Low-Back Pain: What You Need to Know

Achilles Tendon Ruptures: Prevention and Recovery

Achilles Tendon Ruptures: Prevention and Recovery

4 Sports Massage Techniques to Relieve Tight Muscles

4 Sports Massage Techniques to Relieve Tight Muscles

Prevent ACL Injuries With This Hamstring-Focused Workout

Prevent ACL Injuries With This Hamstring-Focused Workout

6 Simple Tips to Prevent Knee Injuries

6 Simple Tips to Prevent Knee Injuries

3 Steps to Alleviate a Sore Neck

3 Steps to Alleviate a Sore Neck

7 Ways to Fix Back Pain

7 Ways to Fix Back Pain

5 Things You Can Do to Prevent Muscle Injuries

5 Things You Can Do to Prevent Muscle Injuries

Connective Tissue: The Key to Preventing ACL Injuries

Connective Tissue: The Key to Preventing ACL Injuries

6 Steps for Recovering From a Season-Ending Injury

6 Steps for Recovering From a Season-Ending Injury

STUDY: Female Athletes Are at Higher Risk of Overuse Injuries

STUDY: Female Athletes Are at Higher Risk of Overuse Injuries

Basketball Players: Prevent Ankle Sprains With These 3 Exercises

Basketball Players: Prevent Ankle Sprains With These 3 Exercises

Fix 3 Common Ankle Problems to Prevent Injury

Fix 3 Common Ankle Problems to Prevent Injury

Megan Rapinoe’s Secret to Staying Healthy

Megan Rapinoe's Secret to Staying Healthy

How to Keep Your Feet Healthy On and Off the Field

How to Keep Your Feet Healthy On and Off the Field

2 Ways to Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt

2 Ways to Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt

What’s With the Stethoscope? Heart Murmurs in Athletes

What's With the Stethoscope? Heart Murmurs in Athletes

How to Train With Running Blisters

How to Train With Running Blisters

Sports Hernias: What You Need to Know

Sports Hernias: What You Need to Know

4 Tips to Relieve Muscle Stiffness

4 Tips to Relieve Muscle Stiffness

6 Ways to Prevent Common Sports Injuries

6 Ways to Prevent Common Sports Injuries

Impressive Advances in ACL Rehab

Impressive Advances in ACL Rehab

Evan Gattis's Protection-Enhanced Catcher's Helmet

Evan Gattis's Protection-Enhanced Catcher's Helmet

3 Steps to Prevent Soccer ACL Injuries

3 Steps to Prevent Soccer ACL Injuries

The Future of Sports Injury Rehabilitation

The Future of Sports Injury Rehabilitation

Preventing ACL Injuries in Soccer Players

Preventing ACL Injuries in Soccer Players

How to Prevent Baseball Injuries During the Off-Season

How to Prevent Baseball Injuries During the Off-Season

5 Bodyweight Exercises to Prevent Baseball Injuries

5 Bodyweight Exercises to Prevent Baseball Injuries

Coaches: Prevent Injuries With the Recovery Management Tool

Coaches: Prevent Injuries With the Recovery Management Tool

Avoid ACL Injuries in Softball with PREP

Avoid ACL Injuries in Softball with PREP

Quarterbacks: 4 Tips to Keep Your Throwing Shoulder Healthy

Quarterbacks: 4 Tips to Keep Your Throwing Shoulder Healthy

Why Tommy John Surgery Is Ruining Pitchers

Why Tommy John Surgery Is Ruining Pitchers

The Secret Weapon Powering Stephen Curry's Resurgence

The Secret Weapon Powering Stephen Curry's Resurgence

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

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

10 Ways to Fix Back Pain

10 Ways to Fix Back Pain

5 Tips to Intelligently Train Through Lower Back Pain

5 Tips to Intelligently Train Through Lower Back Pain

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

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

How to Prevent Hamstring Injuries

How to Prevent Hamstring Injuries

STUDY: Imaginary Exercise Helps You Recover Faster From Injury

STUDY: Imaginary Exercise Helps You Recover Faster From Injury

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

Eliminate Elbow Pain with These 3 Methods

Eliminate Elbow Pain with These 3 Methods

How to Treat Piriformis Syndrome

How to Treat Piriformis Syndrome

YardBarker