Why Foam Rollers? Upper Body Edition

So I am pretty damn excited and impatient.  I will be going to Vegas to get away and relax for a bit.  Can’t wait until I get to check out the Grand Canyon for the first time.  That will be awesome.   It has been quite sometime since my last vacation, and it is long overdue.

Now that I have gloated and told you all that I will be on vacation, let me begin.

If you have not read Why Foam Rollers?  Lower Body Edition, you should read that before reading this one.  It will have the explanations to the what, when, and wheres of foam rolling. When you are done, and understand what foam rolling is about, you can then read this and have full understanding and then have a great talk to bore your friends about it over some beers.

 Here is the how to foam roll the upper body.


The latissimus dorsi is a very large muscle that attaches to the body at three points: the humerus, the spine and the pelvis.  It is also a very important muscle in which it seems like five percent of the population knows how to use.  Because of this, this muscle will always have trigger points.


  • Lay the foam roller perpendicular to you.
  • Lay on the foam roller so that your armpit is touching the roller.
  • Begin Rolling here, and as you travel down your side.
  • Then rotate onto your back at an angle of 45 degrees and repeat.


The thoracic spine (t-spine) is referring to the upper and middle back.  If you were to put your hands on the back of your neck and feel around for a round, hard bump, you will be feeling cervical spine number 7.  Everything below this up until your belly button is considered your t-spine. This is the area of our body where we want to get all of our movement from.  But in today’s day and age, this is not the case.  Many of us move from our lumbar spine, and that is why many of us have back pain.  This causes our t-spines to become more stable and tight, which causes a lot of problems.  Rolling this out, stretching and following the protocols outlined here for core training will help this area of the body function better.


  • Place the foam roller on the floor perpendicular to you.
  • Lay on your back starting at the top of the shoulder blades.
  • Interlace your fingers behind your neck and touch your elbows together above your nose.
  • Roll between your shoulder blades up until you get to belly button height on your back.


Everybody knows what there triceps are.  It is the muscle on the back of your upper arms.  The one every guy wants to get bigger, and every girl wants to rid of the Opera wave. This area gets very fibrotic and dense because a lot of muscles and connective tissues run through the area.  It will be very tender by the armpit and by the elbow joint.


  • Lay on the foam roller so that your arm is outstretched overhead.
  • Roll between your elbow and armpit.


This muscle attaches to the clavicle, the scapula and the humerus.  It also has three heads: the anterior, posterior and medial heads.  This muscle is hard to really get into with a foam roller.  It is a small and thick muscle, and I feel better using a baseball or tennis ball in order to be a little more invasive and get a better roll.


  • For the anterior head, lie on your stomach; arm down by your side.
  • Lay the front of your deltoid onto the foam roller, and roll the muscle thoroughly.
  • For the posterior head, set up like you are doing the lats.
  • Start with the foam roller at the armpits and roll until the biceps and triceps meet the deltoid.
  • For the medial head, lay on the foam roller on your side with your arm bent 90 degrees.
  • Roll the deltoid thoroughly.



Every knows, there pectoralis major; the muscle that takes much of the abuse from our seated posture throughout the day. With us hunched over the computer, as I am right now, our pecs become shortened.  Foam rolling this muscle, as well as all the others, is very important to achieving and maintaining good posture.  This, like the delts, using a tennis ball or baseball will be much easier to do and much more effective then a foam roller.


  • Lay on your stomach with the foam roller on a forty-five degree angle, the top of the roller facing your head.
  • Roll the belly of the pecs from the sternum to the armpit and the collarbone to the bottom of the pec.

Was this post helpful, enlightening, the purest, greatest thing you ever read? Do you foam roll? Has it made a difference for you? Let me know; leave a comment below!

3 responses to “Why Foam Rollers? Upper Body Edition

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