Imagine your typical pool noodle bulked up, firmer and shorter. This essentially describes a foam roller. Form rollers are becoming a popular new exercise tool in gyms and at home. Exercises with foam rollers encourage stretching, flexibility and strengthening. By placing pressure on muscles, foam rollers work to massage muscles through myofascial release and are able to target knots and trigger points for pain.
Causes of Muscle Tension in the Arms
You use your arms on a regular basis performing daily activities. Sitting at a desk and working on the computer for hours a day can lead to muscle tension in the arms, shoulders, neck and upper back. This repetitive behavior can lead to conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, tennis elbow and thoracic outlet syndrome. Athletes participating in sports such as tennis, golf and swimming experience upper arm tension due to muscle overuse and poor conditioning.
Target Trigger Points and Knots
Foam rollers entered the world of physical therapy and muscle stretching because of physical therapist Mike Clark. His idea of “self myofascial release” created a way for athletes to perform self-massage and target muscle knots or trigger points. By applying pressure to these trigger points, foam rollers decrease the tension from muscle over-activity.
Biceps and Triceps Release
The foam roller biceps release exercise targets the biceps in the upper arm. Begin by lying on your side with the foam roller underneath your upper bicep. Using your body and legs, roll your biceps over the roller. Your body weight will provide pressure to the muscle. Repeat this rolling movement for 15 to 90 seconds. By placing the foam roller on a table or bench, you may execute this exercise from a standing position. By rotating your upper arm, you can now target your triceps in a similar manner.
Before beginning a new exercise program, consult a physician or physical therapist. For deeper knots and trigger points, try foam rollers that have specially designed bumps. These rollers work similarly as a deep tissue massage.
- Central Institute for Human Performance: The Foam Roller
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: NINDS Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Information Page
- Mayo Clinic: Arm Pain
- PhysioAdvisor: Bicep Stretches
- Elle Bieling: Foam Roller Exercises for Your Upper Arm – Biceps and Triceps
- Rumble Roller: Foam Roller Exercises
Deborah Lundin is a professional writer with more than 20 years of experience in the medical field and as a small business owner. She studied medical science and sociology at Northern Illinois University. Her passions and interests include fitness, health, healthy eating, children and pets.