Roller reach and squeeze

Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Roller reach and squeeze is fundamentally a scapula stability exercise but it also benefits the thoracic spine and neck.

The repeated protraction retraction actions train the stabiliser muscles around the shoulder blades. And, because of the shape and positioning of the roller, the thoracic spine and neck receive a great mobilising effect.

Set Up:

  • supine lying on the roller, feet and knees hip width apart, (see basic set up )
  • ankles aligned with knees,
  • lumbar spine in a neutral position,
  • chin slightly tucked,
  • gently contract your deep tummy,
  • arms resting lightly on the floor.

Steps:

  1. raise both arms in the air so that your hands are directly over your shoulders, palms facing each other,
  2. gently squeeze both shoulder blades together around the roller,
  3. then gently reach both hands a little  towards the ceiling, using shoulder blade muscles only,
  4. repeat x 10
  5. then repeat x5-10 each arm on its own.

Tips:

  • keep upper neck muscles relaxed. If you reach too much these muscles will activate,
  • keep elbows straight,
  • maintain your low level tummy contraction throughout,
  • remember to breathe normally throughout the roller reach and squeeze exercise,
  • try not to ‘pop’ ribs ie upper back should stay relaxed,
  • add in circles bilaterally, unilaterally,
  • add in scissors or shoulder range of motion exercises