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Aches & pains after a long day at your desk? Try these 3 foam roller stretches!

Updated: Sep 17, 2020

Many people ask me how they can incorporate pilates into their daily routine outside the studio. The foam roller is a great pilates prop to have at home!

Foam rollers come in two lengths, 12″ and 36″, and two diameters, 4″ and 6″. In pilates we typically use the 36″ x 6″ ones.Roller density varies from low to high, and also comes in an inflatable version. Low density is great for all students, but they will lose firmness over time. High density is more durable and provides a more intense experience. Inflatable rollers can be too soft for some exercises but works well for those with sensitivity, especially along the spine and sacrum.

After sitting at a computer or desk for a long time, your posture may slouch, building tension in your neck, back and hips. These are 3 great stretches utilizing the foam roller that can relieve that tension.

All you need for these stretches is a quiet room, comfortable surface and your foam roller.

Hip flexor stretch - After sitting for long periods of time you can experience pressure or aches in the front of the hips. This stretch helps releases that tension.

  1. Start by laying with the roller crosswise under the hips with the upperHip Flexor Stretch back and neck resting on the mat/floor.

  2. Inhale to prepare.

  3. As you exhale, extend one leg down along the floor as you bend the other knee to you chest.

*Alignment tip: Make sure the knee and foot of the extended leg are lined up with the hip and not jarring out to the side.*

Pectoral stretch – Non-ergonomic work stations often perpetuate slumped posture (kyphosis). This stretch opens the front of the chest which allows for a more proper or vertical posture.

  1. Start by laying with your spine along the foam roller, knees bent, feetPectoral Stretch planted, and head resting on the roller.

  2. Inhale to prepare.

  3. Exhale as you lift your arms so your finger tips are pointing up to the ceiling, palms facing each other, with shoulder blades in contact with the roller.

  4. Inhale, extend your arms out to your sides and down to the floor reaching long all the way through the the length of your arms. Take a few breaths here and repeat

*Alignment tip: As you are moving though this stretch make sure you aren’t “popping out” with your chest or ribs, this will decrease the amount of stretching you can accomplish. Instead keep the front of your ribs knitted in and practice feeling expansion through the side and back ribs as you inhale your arms to the side.*

Neck release

  1. Start by laying on your back with the foam roller crosswise and under the neck, knees bent, feet planted.

  2. As you inhale and exhale, nod the head from side to side and up and down.

*Alignment tip: This release often feels best when the nape of your neck is lined up right on top of the roller, but play around with positions and find the spot that feels best for you!*

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