Rub One Out: Foam Roller Massage for the Upper Back

The foam roller is an excellent tool for your recovery arsenal. You can pick one up for about twenty bucks, and it offers many of the same benefits as sports massage —performed right in the comfort of your own home. You don’t even have to nag your significant other to do it. You can get a great massage all by yourself.

This is a great tool for stretching out muscles and tendons, and it’s especially useful for breaking down soft tissue adhesions.

What the heck is a soft tissue adhesion? And should you be worried?

I wouldn’t sweat it just yet. But don’t ignore those aches and pains or they can lead to longer term discomfort, or even chronic overcompensation injuries.

Soft tissue adhesions happen when the superficial fascia — the soft connective tissue that wraps and connects the muscles, bones, blood vessels and nerves — becomes stuck to the underlying muscle tissue.

Several things can cause soft tissue adhesions, including disuse, injury, insufficient stretching after a workout. The result is soreness, reduced flexibility, diminished range of motion, and trigger point pain.

In the short term, we’re talking local inflammation and irritation. If left untreated, or if caused by a repetitive behaviour that isn’t addressed, chronic inflammation can lead to a thickening of the connective tissue called fibrosis. And that leads to more pain, reflexive muscle tension that leads to more inflammation, and so on down the spiral.

That’s where a good foam roller comes in handy. A simple foam roller routine can provide the sort of soft tissue massage and mobilization that’s perfect for releasing adhesions before they become an issue. And on top of all that, it just plain feels good.

So yeah… Are you ready to roll?

We’ve filmed a simple foam roller movement for the upper back that’ll rub those wracked up rhomboids the right way.

Remember to tighten that core and clench those glutes to protect your lower back. Exhale, roll and enjoy!

And be sure to let us know what you think in the comment section below. We get lonely when we don’t hear from ya!

Banish joint and muscle pain with more cool moves like this one from our Million Dollar Exercise system.