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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.
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