In parts 1&2 we’ve covered the lower body and you now feeling like a million bucks! Correct?
Remember, self-care is about consistent performance of any number of methods to introduce optimal range of motion, blood flow and tissue elasticity and not simply waiting until a region is tight, stiff or injured. If you have become injured, take ownership of what perhaps could have been done better and more consistently. Did you take the time each day to perform a short foam roller session and add in the trigger point ball work to get into tighter, small areas? Perhaps most importantly, what did you do during your training/day that contributed to the injury or region that needed care? Listen closely to what your body tells you as if we do not listen that is when little ailments turn into career ending injuries or.
Part 3 is all about the upper body. Working on the upper body is just as important even if you are a runner or cyclist or if you sit a desk 8hrs/day and your hips and lower back are ailing you. “Everything is connected!” We have all heard that stated before but it bears repeating. Tight and stiff pectoralis muscles (chest muscles), trapezius and levator muscles (upper back/base of neck region) can contribute greatly to poor posture which can and does lead to an exorbitant amount of stress on the lower back and shoulders. The trick however is working on the muscles are tight and “inactive”/dormant and to help introduce blood flow, range of motion and decrease tension. What that work does is it allows for the “activation” of muscles that had previously been shut off (with proper exercise prescription) and we then see improvements in posture/position/movements which is what we look for throughout our daily lives whether that be in sport or during work.
Without further delay, here are the videos for the upper extremity (upper body) self-care routine.
TP Ball- Pectoralis major and minor ("Pecs")
Lay on the floor with the TP ball under your pec. Move your shoulder blade back and forth, up and down, in and out as well as trying to reach out to the side and overhead... this ensures that all of the pec is being worked on.
TP Ball- Posterior Rotator Cuff/Infraspinatus and Teres Minor
Against a wall, place the ball at the flat portion of your shoulder blade. Push the ball gently into the wall and hold the ball in place with that pressure. Now, reach your arm/hand out in front of you, overhead, side to side and also move the shoulder blade up and down.
TP Ball- Standing trapezius and levator
Place the ball on the soft tissues just inside where the scapula ends... the region to the outside of your spine and inside the scapula (toward the neck). Move the arm over head, side to side, in front of you (reaching) and lean the body into the ball and move the entire upper body back and forth over the muscles of this region.
Foam Roller- Lat and Tricep
Lay on the floor with the foam roller under your shoulder/just to outside of the arm-pit.
Roll the body (lats and tricep) up and down the roll.
Foam Roller- Thoracic Spine (Mid-Back)
Lay on the floor with the foam roll perpendicular to the spine. Start with your hands at your chest then behind the head and then finally in an overhead reaching position (*do not be too aggressive with reaching until accustomed to performing this movement). Roll back and forth and be careful NOT to move the roll below the rib cage and into the lower back as this may create injury. Move segment by segment (small movements) or roll the general area with larger sweeping movements.
Alternative for standing posterior rotator cuff
In closing, you now have a routine to follow regarding improving blood flow and movement to the soft tissues of your body. What we will be focusing on in the next segment is mobility in the joints of the body in a region by region fashion. Now, get to work! :)
If you have any comments or questions please do not hesitate to contact me at the office (# below) or e-mail address: DrD@PerformanceHealthNW.com. If you'd like to make an appointment to go over where you may be in need of further care I look forward to meeting you soon.
Yours in Health,
Dr Erik DeRoche