When you sit at a desk for hours, hunched over a computer, it can put a big strain on your muscles. There is a way to combat this: foam rolling. Foam rolling, also known as self-myofascial release, is a method of self massage that applies pressure to specific points on your body to speed muscle recovery. Its main benefits include helping to prevent common injuries, de-stressing, improved flexibility, and pain relief.
To get the most benefit from foam rolling, there are tons of different ways you can do it and you should concentrate on certain areas specific to the types of exercise you focus on and where you’re stiff.
See what our experts had to say about the best foam rolling exercises every busy professional should do and give some a try.
Best Foam Rolling Exercise #1: Upper Back
Given there are many common posture problems that affect busy professionals, it’s tough to choose one. But if I had to choose only one, I would say upper back foam rolling while holding your hands behind your head. Too many of us (me included) tend to get rounded shoulders from sitting on and working on a computer. Foam rolling the upper back helps release tension in your upper back, which can get very sore and tight from sitting hunched over in an office chair. It also helps open up your shoulders, the opposite of rounding your shoulders. Finally, it can also help push your head back, because you may have forward head posture as well. So you are able to kill a few birds with one stone. For more ideas, check out this post: How To Correct Rounded Shoulders.
– Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT
Best Foam Rolling Exercise #2: Spine & Glutes
For the average busy professional who spends a lot of time sitting at a desk, I would recommend foam rolling (a) the thoracic spine (upper back) and (b) the glutes. Sitting at a desk and working at a computer often leads to forward rounded shoulders and a shortening/tightening of the gluteal muscles, both of which can lead to poor posture and chronic pain.
To address forward rounded shoulders, foam rolling the thoracic spine and doing a few mobilization stretches/exercises could help stretch the front of the body while decreasing tension or pain in the upper back. Foam rolling the glutes could help relieve hip pain, knee pain, and lower back pain while enabling more glute activation during your workout.
If performed consistently and regularly, foam rolling these two areas could help improve posture, alleviate chronic pain, and improve performance.
– Kristin Rooke, CPT, CHC
Best Foam Rolling Exercise #3: Based On Primary Activity
This really depends on what you primarily do in the gym. If you primarily jog, then I would say doing the IT band would help most busy professionals. If on the other hand, you primarily like to do chest and bicep exercises, I would say using a softball or lacrosse ball along your pec minor (chest muscle) and biceps would work best. Since most people sit at work all day, those two would help to open up their chest and help their posture overall. If you’re not doing anything, then I would say one’s calves. Most people have extremely tight calves (and especially for women who wear a lot of heels), this could help to stave off any potential knee and hip injuries before they start working out.
– John Levya, CSCS, CPT