Why You Should Be Foam Rolling Your Upper Body

STACK Expert Matt Tanneberg explains why you need to foam roll your upper body.

Do you foam roll your legs and glutes? What about your upper body? It seems like everyone likes to focus on their lower body, but when it comes to their upper body, they hit their upper back and that's about it. Newsflash—your upper body has muscles that should be rolled.

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The purpose of foam rolling is to break up the fascia and adhesions in your muscles that come from being active. Foam rolling is terrific for decreasing post-workout muscle soreness and allowing the body to heal properly. The proper method is to roll on the foam roller until you find a tender spot, which will feel like a bruise. Once you find the tender spot, hold constant pressure for 20 to 30 seconds. Holding the constant pressure breaks up the trigger points or adhesions within the muscle. After holding the pressure, slowly roll through the muscle to work on the fascia.

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Once you break up the adhesions, the muscle will be more pliable, and it will be more therapeutic to work on the fascia, as well. Foam rolling has become popular in the athletic community, but it is used strictly on the lower body. By working out, you create micro-tears in your muscles. Your body heals these tears, and the muscle grows bigger. However, if you stress the muscle too much, your body creates adhesions and muscle spasms that need to be broken up to allow proper healing. This process can happen in any muscle in your body. You need to foam roll after every workout. I personally foam roll my upper and lower body before and after every workout. Below is a basic protocol for foam rolling your upper body.

  • Pectoralis Minor/Anterior Deltoid/Biceps
  • Triceps
  • Lats
  • Thoracic Spine
  • I,Y,T,W
  • Forearms

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