Recovery with Foam Rolling
Upper Sides of Your Back (your lats)
Reasons to consider mobilization (foam roller, lacrosse ball, trigger point cane, etc.):
- Muscle soreness in the upper side of the back (lat area) from a recent workout
- Limited motion or feeling of a “block” during overhead movements (e.g., overhead press)
- Discomfort or pinching in the shoulder during overhead movements.
How to foam roll the lats:
- Let’s say that you want to foam roll your RIGHT lat.
- Place the foam roller on the ground in a horizontal position (side-to-side). Lay down on your RIGHT side and place the foam roller about half of a hand’s width under your armpit. Avoid placing the foam roller directly in the middle of the armpit as this can cause numbness and tingling out into the arm.
- “Karate chop” your arm straight out over your head. Use your legs and LEFT arm for support so that you can comfortably put your weight on the foam roller.
- Gently and slowly lean your body back as if you are about to lay on your back, but keep yourself from laying completely on your back. If you find a tender spot, hold it for about 10-15 seconds!
- Now, gently and slowly lean your body back forward, returning back to the side-lying position in which you started. Again, if you find a tender spot, hold it for about 10-15 seconds!
- When you are holding a tender spot, you can further intensify the mobilization by raising and lowering your RIGHT arm 2-3 times, kind of like your arm is a knife and you are using it to chop some parsley on the ground!
- If, at any point, you experience numbness or tingling in your hand while foam rolling, ease yourself off of that spot with the foam roller and readjust to a different spot on the upper side of your back.
- After you are done foam rolling, take the opportunity to stretch your newly mobilized lats! Maybe try a kneeling preacher stretch on a bench! If you do not know how to do this stretch, ask a trainer to show you.
- In general, mobilizing tissue using a foam roller, lacrosse ball, trigger point cane, or another instrument will cause some discomfort; after all, the goal is to mobilize (move or “free-up”) the tissue from any restrictions that might be limiting your body’s movement or range of motion. However, if you experience too much discomfort or pain, you should stop.
- In general, you should not attempt to mobilize (foam roll, lacrosse ball, trigger point cane, etc.) a recent injury that has occurred within the past 48 hours.
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by Nick April, coach at Bent On Better