Most people think about using a foam roller to roll out muscles or the IT band, but there’s actually much more that can be done with this piece of equipment!
My favorite thing to use the foam roller for is to stretch the pec muscles.
The pecs are commonly a tight area for people. This is because most of us spend a majority of our day sitting at a desk and working on a computer. This type of activity causes most of us to hold the shoulders in a forward position. This foam roller stretch reverses that position which is great for your posture.
This stretch also feels really great on the thoracic spine (the upper back region).
What you should feel with this stretch
Below I will take you through step by step instructions on how to perform this stretch.
This stretch should be felt in the pecs (chest) and should feel like a stretch. If you have any pain or have symptoms radiating down your arms or into your hands with this stretch, stop and consult with a doctor or physical therapist.
For those of you who do sit for most of the day at work, click here to check out my FREE 5 day program to reverse the effects of sitting.
Foam roller options
There are two options that can be used for this stretch. There are half foam rolls and full foam rolls.
In the photos you’ll see me using a full foam roller. The full foam roller will give you more of an intense stretch.
If you have issues with balance, I recommend using a half foam roller because it can be a little challenging to balance on the full one.
The instructions for the stretch are the same regardless of which roll you are using.
Full foam roller I use: OPTP PRO-Roller
Use this type of roll if you have balance issues: Half Foam Roller
This is a cheaper full foam roller but I have never tried it so I can’t speak on the quality: Amazon Basics Foam Roller 36 in
Instructions for pec stretch on foam roller
1. You want your head and entire spine (all the way down to your tail bone) to be supported by the foam roller.
2. To get into position, start by sitting on the end of the foam roller. Keep your knees bent and feet on the floor to support you as you lay down.
3. It’s important to keep your knees bent and feet in contact with the floor throughout this stretch as this protects your lower back and keeps you stable on the foam roller.
4. For the starting position, bend your elbows and place your forearms together above your chest as seen in picture below.
4. Slowly open the arms out to the sides keeping your elbows bent. I call this “cactus arms” as a yogi but some also call this position “goal posts arms”. Your elbow should be straight out from your shoulder joint.
5. From here, really try to let your upper body relax so that the elbows, forearms, and hands can fall to the floor. If they don’t get to the floor that’s ok, but this is the idea.
6. Keep your upper back in contact with the foam roller while in the stretch, (don’t let the chest pop up to the ceiling).
7. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times.
I hope you guys love this stretch as much as I do.
Try it after your next chest workout or after a long day of computer work.
Your body will thank you.
For verbal instructions and demonstration, watch the video below.
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Exercise and physical activities:
Before beginning any of these exercises, you should consult with your physician, assess your fitness level, and follow all safety instructions.
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