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Block Work: Upper Back Release

If you've never stretched using a foam block, then get ready to embark on a whole new realm in the world of stretching. Blocks can be used to get you deeper into stretches than you can on your own. This upper back release is a simple and relaxing exercise that will open your chest and shoulders. If you don't have a foam block, then use a stack of small books with a hand towel over it that measures four inches wide, six inches high, and nine inches long, or a foam roller will work in a pinch.

  • Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Place the six-inch high block directly behind you, about five inches from your bum.
  • Lean back and place your hands on the block so it doesn't slide away, centering the middle of your spine on the top of the block.
  • Then arch all the way back, releasing your head down to the ground. Rest your hands on either side of your body.
  • The block should feel comfortable so if any part is digging into you, make adjustments until it feels right. Then stay here for a minute or longer, allowing gravity to draw your shoulders towards the ground, feeling an amazing opening in your chest and upper back.
  • Once you've had enough, press your hands into the ground and sit up.
Join The Conversation
Beaner Beaner 8 years
This feels incredible.
hippiecowgirl hippiecowgirl 8 years
I don't have a block yet. This stretch makes me want to go out and get one.
muffinmaggie muffinmaggie 8 years
this might be my very favorite stretch. sometimes i put a block on the lowest level under my head for more support.
dukegirl dukegirl 8 years
I like working with a block or a rolled blanket or towel (or a bolster). I find the rolled blanket or towel more relaxing.
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 8 years
We did something similar to this in my yoga class as part of relaxation - but rolled up our mats and used that as a bolster behind us instead. It felt great. I'll have to try this with my blocks.
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