Foam Roller Exercises to release tension in neck and shoulders.

I literally love rollers. They are so good for core workouts but also great for muscle and fascia release. If you don’t have one in your house you really need one.

If you sit for hours at a desk or feed and carry a baby then spend time hunched over playing on the floor and changing nappies then these exercises are going to make your shoulders sing with joy!

Pectoral Stretch

Lie on your side with your knees bent and the roller under your neck, both arms in front of you at chest height.

Pilates with Priya: Shoulder Roller Release 2

Engage your core, then as you breath out open the top arm in an arc, keeping the hips facing forward so you don’t roll back. Keep looking at your finger tips, breath in and hold the stretch. Now breath out and return to the starting position.

Pilates with Priya: Shoulder Roller Release 6

 Shoulder Drops

Lie on top of the roller, with it going down the length of your spine. Ensure your neck is supported and the whole of your spine is on it. Bring your feet to hip distance apart and your pelvis into neutral. Now open your shoulder over the roller, think about hugging it with your shoulder blades.

Pilates with Priya: Shoulder Roller Release 3


Bring your arms up so your finger tips are towards the ceiling, as you breath out stretch up to the ceiling, release the shoulder blades back down to the roller, keeping your elbows straight. Think about releasing tension and dropping the shoulders back down with energy.

Pilates with Priya: Shoulder Roller Release 4

Chicken Wings

Stay lying on the roller with the pelvis in neutral and the shoulder blades hugging the roller. Keeping the core switched on, bring the arms up with finger tips towards the ceiling. As you breath out slide the elbows down towards the floor, feeling the shoulder blades being squeezed together. Breath in to bring the arms back up and repeat.

Pilates with Priya: Shoulder Roller Release 1

Double Arm Floats

Lying on the roller with the spine in neutral and the core engaged – bring the arms up to the ceiling once more. As you breath out take the arms towards your head, but not over your head. You want to bring your elbows to your ears, but not to go further than this or your shoulders will come out of the correct position. Keep your ribcage heavy and your lower back in neutral. Breath in to hold and breath out to return the arms to the starting position. Keep your focus on you shoulders and ribcage.

Pilates with Priya: Shoulder Roller Release 5

Roller Addiction. Why Rollers are the Bees Knees.

It’s official. I have a roller addiction. There I’ve said it! Fortunately some of those in my classes seem to have a similar roller love.  So why do I love them so? Here’s a little run down on how a roller can make Pilates even better:

1. They make you work harder, place your body on an unstable surface and suddenly that core has to work extra hard.

2. Tension release – just lying on one of these babies can release in the shoulder blades and upper body.

3. Massage – it’s not my favourite thing to use a roller for but boy does it do you good.

4. They are so versatile, I use them for lying exerises, prone exercises, seated, stood and under the sacrum too.

5. Coming off the roller is amazing, that moment when you lie down on the floor and stretch out – its sheer bliss.

Here are my top 5 roller exercises:

1. Single Leg Stretch: lie on the roller in neutral, keep the shoulder blades open and touching it, come to a double knee fold then on an out breath stretch the leg away and on an in breath return it to the starting position. Repeat on the other side staying heavy through the pelvis and lumbar spine and pinned to the roller the whole time.

2. Shoulder Drops: great for tension release in the shoulders. Lying on the roller, breath and and lift both arms to the ceiling, hands over shoulders and hands shoulder distance apart. Breath out and reach towards the ceiling, breath in and drop the shoulder blades back down to touch the roller. Use the core to stabilise the pelvis and keep you as still as possible on the roller.

3. Shoulder Bridge: Lying down on the mat with the roller under your feet, knees bent, in neutral with the core engaged. Breath out and roller up to a shoulder bridge, breath in to hold and breath out to slowly roll down through the spine keeping the roller still and the legs in line. Really uses the hamstrings in the legs and the gluts in the bum!

4. CAT: Come to hands and knees, place the roller under your shins. As you breath out roll up to CAT (arched back) position, breath in to hold and then breath out as you gently release back to neutral.

5. Swimming: Lie on your tummy with the roller in front of you, holding around each end, arms outstretched. Engage the core and relax in the legs and bum. As you breathe out keep the shoulder blades pulled down in the back but lift your hand, elbow and 1 side of the roller off the floor. Breath in and let it come down to the floor. The whole time keep the pelvis still and try to think about lifting from your core and not your shoulder.

I hope that inspires you to get on a roller! If you need to buy one and are local I can order them in for you.

Priya x

Pilates with Priya: Rollers in Action
Pilates with Priya: Rollers in Action