Fix Your Posture: The Ultimate Foam Roller Program

Fix Your Posture:  The Ultimate Foam Roller Program

DISCLAIMER: This post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or the opinions expressed herein

As a physical therapist, I have observed the posture of thousands of different people.  Poor posture frequently contributes to most types pain and injury.  Nearly every patient I have seen with poor posture has tightness in the front of the shoulders and weakness in the back of the shoulders.

As a nursing mother, I have become even more aware of how I carry myself — my posture!  Sitting in the rocker nursing for long periods of time can easily cause pain in my mid-back.  Using a foam roller each day has helped me maintain good, pain-free posture.  Most people have used the foam roller to help with IT band tightness or stiffness in hamstrings.  If you look up exercises to perform with a foam roller, most exercises  But, using the foam roller to work on postural alignment is easy and practical.

Each night I use the foam roller to work my mid-back and neck.  It is easy to use while watching TV, chatting with my husband, or just having quiet time once Chulengo is asleep.  I have put together a list of the most effective foam roller exercises for posture below.

It is crucial to use a foam roller that is 36″ x 6″ so that you can lie on it comfortably in various positions.  I recommend a high-density foam roller because it will last longer.  At first, it may be uncomfortable to rest on the high-density foam roller, but your body will get used to it over time.  You should aim to perform each exercise for 1-5 minutes each.

9 Easy Foam Roller Exercises for Posture

Parallel roll

This exercise is one of the most critical activities to complete postural training.  At first, the exercise can be very uncomfortable.  Lie on the foam roller with your head at one end and your bottom at the other end.  Your head should rest comfortably on the roller.  Avoid letting your head drop off the end of the foam roller.  Place a pillow under your head if you cannot rest it comfortably on the roller.  Rest your hand’s palm up on the floor at your side.  Now rock your body side to side, only moving a couple of inches in each direction

Shoulder lifts

Still lying parallel on the foam roller, raise arms up to the ceiling with palms facing each other.  Now lift shoulders like you are trying to reach your fingertips toward the ceiling.  Then, lower shoulders while squeezing your shoulder blades together.  Repeat both directions in an alternating fashion.

Shoulder rolls

With hands still up in the air, like the previous exercise, move shoulders in a forward circular motion ten times.  I always say this is like you are doing a forward locomotion train movement with your elbows straight.  Then perform ten backward circles while keeping elbows straight.  Repeat alternating sets of ten in each direction.


While still lying on foam roller lengthwise, place arms out to side, like you are making a “T.”  Palms should be face up.  Your goal is to have hands resting on the floor.  If this range is too difficult to achieve, just go as far as you can.  Now bring arms across your body, hugging yourself.  Then return hands to T position and repeat.

Alternating shoulder raises

Now you are going to rest arms down to side near hips but on the floor.  Hands should be in a thumbs up position.  Raise one arm as far overhead as possible.   The goal will be to touch your thumb to the floor behind you and overhead.  Bring that arm back down to starting position and repeat with the other side.  Keep your back on the foam roller as you lift each arm.


Final exercise with the foam roller along the spine.  Start with hands together in a prayer position.  Then raise hands, together, overhead like you are making a shark as far away from your head as possible.  Then, pull hands apart like you are making a snow angel, lowering arms back down to your hips while keeping your elbows straight.  Bring hands back together in prayer position at chest and repeat.

Perpendicular roll

Change position so that the foam roller is perpendicular to your spine.  Rest with the foam roller at shoulder blade level.  Knees should be bent, so feet are flat on the floor.  Lift bottom off the floor, straighten knees to move the foam roller down the back.  Arch your back as the roller moves down.  Then bend knees, bringing the roller back to the top of your shoulders.  You may hear or feel popping in your back, which is normal.

Quadruped twist

Get into a hands and knees position with the foam roller parallel to your body and to the left of both hands.  Place your right-hand palm up on the foam roller.  This hand should also be behind the left arm. Now push the foam roller away from your body using your right arm.  Your left arm will stay relatively straight.  Then bring roller back and repeat in the same direction.  To switch sides, place the foam roller to the right of both hands, with left-hand palm up on the foam roller.  Push the foam roller away to the right and then bring back and repeat.

Head turns side to side

Lie faceup with your neck resting on the foam roller, which should be lying perpendicular to your spine.  Turn your head side to side, like you are very slowly shaking your head no.

If you are looking to buy a foam roller, you can get a great price on  I recommend a foam roller that is 36″ long and 6″ in diameter. THIS is the one I use.

Fix Your Posture

2 thoughts on “Fix Your Posture: The Ultimate Foam Roller Program”

  • Foam rolling has saved me on multiple occasions! After every sports injury, I have had to foam roll as part of my PT, and now I just incorporate it into life…it makes the body feel so much more able and strong. I never realized how tight I felt all the time until I felt the difference with foam rolling – great tips on how to get rolling!

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