December 12, 2021 9 min read
If you’re someone who hits the gym regularly or just someone who works a lot at a desk, we are sure you’ve experienced some form of shoulder tension at one point or another. Shoulder tension is characterized by tense muscles in the shoulder with added stiffness in the neck, and upper-back.
This can be caused by everything from certain workouts like barbell squats to pad posture. The good news is there are several stretches you can do to relieve shoulder tension with a foam roller and that’s what we are here to get you started on today.
A foam roller is a large piece of foam that comes in a rolled shape and can vary in sizes and the one you choose will widely depend on the type of pain you are experiencing as well as the type of athlete you are. For example, most athletes need a smooth foam roller, but more serious athletes might want those with ridges and spikes to get the hard to massage places. You will be using the foam roller to give yourself a nice little at-home self-massage that has many health benefits.
Of course, it is more helpful if we go over these benefits of using a foam roller so you will know exactly why you should get one. Foam rolling, also known as self-myofascial release, helps to relieve the tension and knots that form in the soft tissue of your muscles. If you don’t work to relieve this tension on a regular basis, you can end up with increasing pain that may end up causing a serious issue.
Not to mention that foam rolling is great for connective tissue. It helps to relax the tendons and ligaments, which can help solve a whole host of health problems that can come about when you are invested in becoming a serious athlete.
There are many health benefits to using a foam roller.
Below is a list that includes some of the most important reasons that athletes engage in foam rolling.
If you are looking to become a serious athlete, whether you want to build muscle or run a marathon, foam rolling needs to be an essential part of your warm-up and workout routine. Without it, you won’t have proper recovery and this can damage your performance as an athlete. Remember that nutrition is also an important part of workout recovery, so be sure to include a post-recovery workout formula like HYPERADE in your routine as well.
HYPERADE helps by replenishing the carbohydrates and electrolytes spent on your workout better than just eating food. Drink this while you foam roll your muscles and your body will be on its way to peak performance in no time at all.
Honestly, the best foam roller for you will depend on your personal preference. Many people who are just starting their foam rolling journey prefer to use foam rollers that are medium to firm thickness and smooth on the surface. But if you are a person who enjoys deep tissue massages, you may want to look into a foam roller with spikes or other ridges to give you the pain release you desire.
For best results, you should head to a store to try some foam rollers in person before you buy online. This way you can be sure that you are getting the best foam roller for you and that you will like your purchase, even if you ultimately end up buying a foam roller online somewhere else later.
Maybe you’re reading this article and thinking that you don’t suffer from shoulder tension. But the truth is, everyone does. Although you may not realize it, shoulder tension is tied into numerous different pains you might feel. If you ever feel neck pain, upper back pain, and even mid-back or lower back pain, all four of these can actually be attributed back to shoulder tension and poor posture. This is because your shoulders are responsible for your posture and the positioning of many of the muscles in your upper body.
Any muscle soreness you feel in your upper body is likely due to the tension of your lats or deltoids, both of which are muscle groups found in your shoulders. Remember, any sort of muscle tightness can quickly lead to muscle soreness if you aren't careful. So even if your shoulders just feel tight or tense, but not sore yet, it's important to relieve the tension before it gets worse.
Using a foam roller to ease the pain caused by shoulder tension is very similar to using a foam roller on any other part of your body.First, you will want to focus on trigger points or tender spots of your muscle that are knotted and hard to the touch. These tight spots are usually the source of your pain and massaging them will help you to better use the foam rolling exercises to ease your overall muscle pain. There are some specific foam rolling exercises that you should use to guide your self-massage session, as these exercises are specifically targeted to release tension in your shoulder muscles.
This first foam rolling exercise is best after you spend a whole day sitting at your desk with your shoulder blades hunched forward. It is great to use as a warm-up before your workout.
There are many parts of the shoulder that end up tight and sore at the end of the day, the most common one being the rotator cuff. This complex part of your body contains 4 different muscles that can easily become knotted and tense, causing radiating pain in your upper spine, neck, and even as low as your wrist.
This is why it is so important that you work out your rotator cuff properly, and engage in the proper recovery following this type of workout.
Note: this exercise is best done with a textured foam roller, but can be performed with a smooth one as well.
This exercise can be very intense. If you feel exceptional pain, you may want to stop and see a doctor or physical therapist before trying this exercise again.
The cool thing about foam rollers is that they are very versatile in when and how you can use them. Although you are most familiar with using them on the floor for stretches, you can also use them on a tabletop like this next shoulder stretch.This stretch focuses on the muscles on the top of your shoulder and you should pause and roller deeper whenever you feel sore spots or trigger points.
Similar to the above exercise, this next one will also require a tabletop. But this exercise helps to relieve tightness in your triceps and the parts of your latissimus dorsi (lat) muscle that run through your armpit.
You can also do this exercise with your arm straight out rather than bent at the elbow and lean forward to target your deltoid muscles instead.
Do you get pain in your ribs? Then this next foam roller exercise is for you. It hits not only the lats but also the serratus muscles of the upper ribs that could be causing you pain.
As previously mentioned, neck and shoulder pain often go hand in hand. If you suffer from both, try putting this next foam rolling exercise in your routine.
Even though this exercise is only for one minute total, many people find that this one is the best for their neck and shoulder pain, so don’t be afraid to double the time you spend doing it if needed.
Although the shoulder, neck, and back are all critical aspects of your body that you should be foam rolling, the truth is, a good foam rolling can help many different parts of your body. If you are suffering from pain in the following areas, you should try foam rolling to help relieve the tension in these areas.
Generally, these areas of your body can be relieved from pain just by performing a 30-second roll out of the muscle that is causing your problems. But if you are having serious issues with any of the above muscle groups, be sure to look up some specific foam roller exercises to relieve muscle pain in these areas.Additionally, it is always worthwhile to ask your personal trainer or physical therapist for some ideas of exercises and stretches that can help the specific muscle group you are having tension in.
Isn't just reading about relieving all this muscle tension getting you in the mood for a little self-massage? Regardless of the type of athlete you are, or your goals in the fitness world, you absolutely must make a foam rolling routine a priority on your list if you want to avoid injury. And if your shoulders are nice and relaxed and ready for some serious bulking, you should check out these lat exercises you can do at home.