Preventing injuries is a 3 part process – foam rolling, stretching and activation. (It’s what I call the RStoration Method….cause it sounds sexy hehe)
All too often we are doing one, or maybe too, and it’s “helping” but the results don’t seem to fully last.
If we want to not only relax tight muscles, but get the right muscles working, we need to do all 3 pieces!
This “workout” below is the perfect way to use all three parts in your warm up or prehab routine to improve your shoulder mobility and thoracic extension while properly activating the muscles of your back.
It’s under 15 minutes and can help you prevent neck, shoulder and upper back aches and pains!
The Chest, Shoulders And Back RStoration Workout
Spend about 30 seconds on each of the foam rolling and stretching moves below. Do one round through each circuit. Then do 2 rounds of the activation. Rest up to 1 minute between rounds of the activation if needed.
30 seconds per side Trap and Upper Back Foam Rolling
30 seconds per side Lat Foam Rolling
30 seconds Kneeling Thoracic Extension and Lat Stretch
30 seconds per side Quadruped Thoracic Rotation
15 reps Mini Band Scapular Flyes
15 reps Mini Band Pull Downs
10 reps per side Mini Band Half-Kneeling Single-Arm Rows
Focus on YOUR areas of pain and tightness, spending an extra few seconds if you find any specific knots! (Especially if you have neck or shoulder pain, I recommend even adding in bonus chest foam rolling, which I cover in other RStoration workouts!)
Trap and Upper Back Foam Rolling: To roll out your upper back and traps, place a ball behind your back right to the side of the base of your neck as you stand with your back to the wall. Press back into the ball. Hold for a second or two. Then rotate and drop your shoulder back toward the wall as you roll the ball up toward the top of your trap at the base of your neck and even out toward your shoulder. Hold on any tight spots. To really dig into your trap and along the base of your neck toward your shoulder, you may sort of have angle yourself with the side of your head toward the wall. Then rotate your back toward the wall and roll the ball back toward your shoulder blades and even down the side of your back under your shoulder blade. You can work all down your shoulder blade and then even along your spine and back up. Hold on any tight spots. If you find a tight spot, you can even pull the arm on the side with the ball across your chest or lift and lower it to help you dig in more to any knots or trigger points. Make sure to breathe and relax on any tight spots you find.
Lat Foam Rolling: To roll out your lats a roller is best although you can use a foam ball or even a tennis ball. Start by lying on your side with a roller under one armpit. Extend the arm on the side with the roller up above the roller. Then rock forward and backward on the roller, rotating your chest toward the ground and then up toward the ceiling as you roll on the roller so it hits toward your ribs and then toward your back. Hold on any tight spots you find then move it lower down the side of your back. Hold on any tight spots as you go and make sure to rock forward and backward as you make your way down your side. As you work down your side, you may want to rotate slightly more toward your back. Work all the way from your armpit to about the end of your rib cage. Be careful when rolling lower down your back into your low back. You do not want to arch over the roller and hyperextend your low back.
Kneeling Thoracic Extension and Lat Stretch: To do the Kneeling Thoracic Extension and Lat Stretch, place a box, bench or table on the ground in front of you. Kneel on the ground facing the bench and place your elbows up on it about shoulder-width apart. Make sure that you are kneeling far enough away from the bench that you can lean forward and drop your head between your elbows as you press your chest toward the ground. From this kneeling position, relax your chest and head over, sitting your butt back. Press your chest toward the ground and feel your spine extend. You should feel a nice stretch down your triceps and lats as well as through your thoracic spine. Try to extend your back as much as possible as you press your chest toward the ground, but don’t simply arch your lower back. Keep your abs braced so that you force your mid and upper back to extend. Breathe to stretch deeper and then relax back out and repeat, trying to get further with each rep. If you really feel your elbows constantly sliding out on the bench, you can hold a dowel or even a towel between your hands to help keep everything in line.
Quadruped Thoracic Rotation: To do the Quadruped Thoracic Rotation, start on your hands and knees with your knees under your hips and your hands under your shoulders. Reach one hand down your back behind your head so that your elbow is up by your head. With your hand behind your head, rotate your elbow down under your body toward your opposite knee. Sit your butt back slightly as you tuck. Then rotate through your spine to open your elbow up toward the ceiling as much as you can. Open your chest up toward the ceiling and push your hips slightly forward as you rotate. Feel a nice stretch down your back and even into the outside of your opposite hip/glute. Repeat, rotating your elbow back under before twisting back open. Complete all reps on one side before switching. Make sure to really rotate open as much as you can each time. Feel your spine rotating and don’t simply “flap” your elbow as you perform the rotations.
Mini Band Scapular Flyes: To do the Scapular Flyes, place the mini band around your arms. The closer to your elbow the band goes, the easier the move will be. To make the move harder, place the band around your wrists. Press out on the band so there is some tension and extend your arms in front of you at about shoulder height. Stand up nice and tall and press your chest out, retracting your shoulder blades together as you press out on the band, pulling it as far apart as you can. You are flying your arms out and open, feeling the muscles between your shoulder blades work. Once you’ve pulled the band as far apart as you can, slowly return to the starting position. Stay in control of the move and don’t let the band pull you!
Mini Band Pull Downs: To do the Mini Band Pull Down, place a Mini Band around the back of your hands, wrists or even your forearms. To make the move easier, place the band closer to your elbows. Then with the band around your arms, extend your arms up toward the ceiling. Stand tall, pressing your chest out and bracing your abs. Press out on the band so that there is tension. Keeping tension on the band, pull the band down toward your chest. As you pull the band down, draw your shoulder blades down and together. Feel the sides of your back working to pull the band down to your chest. Make sure to keep your chest pressed out and open toward the ceiling. Hold for a second at your chest and then extend your arms back up toward the ceiling. Make sure to consciously engage your back and draw your shoulder blades down and back as you pull the band down. Keep tension on the band the entire time. Also make sure you do not arch your low back as you perform the move. Keep your abs braced so you don’t feel it in your low back.
Mini Band Half-Kneeling Single-Arm Rows: To do the Half-Kneeling Single-Arm Row, set up in a half-kneeling position on the ground with one end of the mini band around your front foot and the other side in the opposite hand from the leg that is forward. Your arm should be extended down toward the ground holding the mini band. Lean forward over your front leg with your back flat and in a nice straight line from your head to your tailbone. Then row the mini band up to your side, pulling with your back and driving your elbow back and up as you row. Keep your core tight as you row and do not rotate with the band or shrug your shoulders. Make sure to drive your elbow down and back as you row so that you don’t feel the move in your upper traps and neck, but instead feel the row in between your shoulder blades and down the side of your back. Slowly extend your arm back out after rowing the band up to your side. Keep your back flat and abs engaged the entire time. Complete all reps on one side before switching sides. Also make sure you really concentrate on feeling this move in your back. You do not want to shrug your shoulders and feel it in your upper traps. To make the move harder, use a heavier resistance or slow down the tempo of the move. You can even hold for a few counts at the top of the move to make it more challenging. Do not rush the move or let the band pull you back down.