Today’s post will highlight exercises that help with releasing the muscles and mobilizing the joints of the thoracic spine and releasing your glute muscles through the use of a foam roller. Although one of our very first PTtip videos here at Physical Therapy First, it is a great one to keep in mind with the summer months now here when many of us may be traveling and having to sit for extended periods of time during travel. In our PTtip video, Dr. Maureen Ambrose, PT, DPT, OCS, OMPT, highlights her top three uses for the foam roller:

PTtip Video Foam Roller Exercises

Exercise #1

  • Targets the thoracic spine (your middle & upper back) through self-massage by rolling and releasing the muscles along the spine.
  • Sit down on the floor in front of the roller with your hands behind your head to help support your neck.
  • With your feet flat on the floor and your knees apart, lift your hips up and then begin pushing with your feet to roll the foam roller along the muscles of the spine.
  • Perform about 20 rolls back and forth.

Exercise #2

  • Helps to mobilize the joints of the thoracic spine.
  • Great for posture to help you sit upright.
  • Once you have felt a good release of the muscles along the spine from performing exercise #1, set your hips down and arch your back over the roller to open up the spine.
  • You can also roll up another level, set your hips down, and arch your back over the roller again.
  • Finally, you can roll up one more level to help open up the spine even further.

Exercise #3

  • Targets your hips and glute muscles.
  • Helps with warming up the muscles before exercise, hip tightness, sciatic-type pain, or leg aches for example, especially if you have been sitting all day.
  • Sit on the foam roller and place your hands behind y\ou on the floor for support.
  • Lean over 45 degrees to one side and use your hands and feet to roll and release your glute muscle.
  • Perform on the opposite side as well.
  • If you find a spot that feels tighter than other spots, you can hold the position to place pressure on it for about a minute.

Travel Tips

With the summer travel season in full swing, you may find yourself commuting for extended periods of time to get to your destination. If this is the case, you’ll want to ensure that you have healthy nutrient-rich options to chose from when hunger strikes. One idea includes fresh fruit that is easy to travel with such as apples, bananas, peaches, or cherries. Both peaches and cherries are now in-season and supply a good amount of vitamin C and potassium. You can also pair apple or banana slices with a serving of natural peanut/almond butter to add protein to your snack. Pre-cut veggies like carrots, peppers, cucumbers, or celery paired with a serving of hummus is another tasty snack option to pack in your cooler when traveling!

Make sure you watch the PTtip video to learn how to properly perform the above exercises, and if you have any questions or would like to make an appointment with one of our physical therapists, give us a call today at 1-855-PT-FIRST!


*As a reminder, always discuss any questions or concerns with your physician regarding your own health and dietary needs, as the information written should not replace any medical advice.



Produce for Better Health Foundation. (n.d.). Cherries: Nutrition. Selection. Storage. Retrieved from:

Produce for Better Health Foundation. (n.d.). Peach: Nutrition. Selection. Storage. Retrieved from: