Active Recovery

Foam Rolling Is One of the Best Ways To Ease Upper-Back Tension—As Long as You Don’t Make These Mistakes

Allie Flinn

Foam rolling is often thought of as something you do after a workout, but it can also be beneficial post-work, especially if you spend a lot of time hunched over your computer. One particular area that really benefits from this? Your upper back.

"I love to foam roll, I think it's one of the best ways that you can mobilize and stretch out all the muscles and joints in your upper back," says Chloe de Winter of Go Chlo Pilates in the newest episode of The Right Way. "I'm going to teach you how to do it the right way so that it feels amazing on your upper back." She outlines three common mistakes she sees when people foam roll their upper back—keep reading to find out what they are, then check out the video above to find out how to do it right.

1. Skimping on neck support

This is a mistake de Winter sees all the time. "People come onto the roller ready to roll...And their neck is just up in the air with no support up and down as they roll. I wouldn't do that if I were you," she says. To roll with proper form, start by laying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Place the foam roller underneath you (near the bottom of your rib cage), and put your hands behind your head with your fingers interlaced and your thumbs going down the back of your neck. This will help to provide proper support as you move the roller.

2. Rolling too far

"The next mistake I see all the time is people rolling all the way down to their lower back," says de Winter. It doesn't feel good, and it's not the way you want to do it. Focus on keeping the roller between the tops of your shoulder blades and the bottom of your rib cage for best results.

3. Rushing the process

The third mistake de Winter commonly sees is people rushing through their foam-rolling routine and "doing it so quickly without any control," she says. "They just go up and down and up and down and I just get scared they're gonna fall off and roll off their foam roller." Big yikes. To do it right, place the foam roller underneath your body and slowly roll it up and down. "If you find a spot that feels good, you can slow down on that part," says de Winter.

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