Upper Back & Overhead Exercises

by Steven McGee

Hi everyone this is Steven McGee from Body Works Sports Physiotherapy, North Vancouver. I’m here today to talk to you about overhead activities and warming up your upper back.

Here are two exercises to help warm up your upper back to improve mobility.

First Exercise – Rolling

  • Put down a foam roller, or a towel if you don’t have a roller.
  • Lie down with the roller positioned horizontally at your upper back and your knees bent.
  • Roll up and down on the foam roller. Put enough pressure on that it can feel tender, but not so much that it’s too painful.
  • Drop your hips down and just gently arch your upper back, being careful not to arch your lower back excessively.
  • This can really help get some extension in the upper back to allow you to reach your arms up more easily.

Second Exercise – Arm Lifts

  • Take a dowel (or use a theraband) and put out your arms with hands shoulder-width apart.
  • Lift straight up until your hands are over your head
  • Keep your core engaged and don’t arch your lower back excessively. Keep your pelvis tucked under.
  • This can really help warm up your shoulders and upper back for any overhead activities like swimming, baseball, or raquet sports.