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Foam rolling exercise for the upper back

This is an excerpt from Ageless Intensity by Pete McCall.

Foam Roller—Thoracic Spine


This mobility exercise can help reduce tightness of the erector spinae muscles that run along the spine; when these muscles become too tight, they can restrict motion of the intervertebral segments of the thoracic spine. Reducing tightness in these muscles can help to ensure optimal motion of the upper back. This is an excellent mobility exercise for when you’ve been seated all day and your upper back is a little sore.


  1. Place the roller under your upper back as you lie on your back with your legs bent and your feet flat on the floor to help support your bodyweight.
  2. Slowly roll toward and away from your feet. When you find a tender or tight spot, stay on it for 15 to 20 seconds while slowly flexing (a) and extending (b) your spine before moving to find another tight spot.
  3. Repeat for a total of 30 to 45 seconds.

Correct Your Form

If it’s difficult to support your bodyweight with your legs, place your tailbone on the ground. If the hamstring muscles along the back of your legs start cramping, move your feet away from your tailbone.

Foam Roller—Thoracic Spine