Improved Shoulder Flexion in Older Women Following an 8-Week Daily Exercise Program on a 36-Inch Foam Roller

Date of Award

Summer 6-19-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Exercise Science



First Advisor

Dr. Brenda Kehret

Second Advisor

Dr. Joseph Ostrem



PURPOSE: Older women are at risk of limited shoulder range of motion (ROM) due to the presence of thoracic hyperkyphosis. The purpose of this eight-week study was to determine whether a daily 20-minute training protocol with a 36-inch foam roller (“The 20-minute-HPK-protocol”) would improve shoulder flexion ROM in elderly women with mild hyperkyphosis.

METHODS: Eleven women (average age: 63.5 ± 8.1 years) of varying activity levels completed the study. After the initial screening that included the PAR-Q+ and a physical activity rating scale, height, weight, and shoulder flexion measurements were collected. Participants learned the daily 20-minute exercise activities with a 36-inch-long standard-density full foam roller during an initial educational session. Exercises were performed at a rate of perceived exertion (RPE) of 7-8 on the Borg Scale. Participants were also provided with a YouTube tutorial video that would guide them through the daily exercises and cue proper form. There were two additional educational sessions where participants received TheraBands and five-pound dumbbells to progress the exercise prescription throughout the eight weeks. At the end of the eight weeks, participants completed the same tests that were performed at baseline. A paired t-test was performed to compare shoulder flexion range of motion pre- and post-intervention.

RESULTS: The shoulder flexion ROM significantly improved over the 8-week period (148.54 + 6.4 vs. 155.06 + 4.9, p=0.002). The average of three trials of active shoulder flexion range of motion measurements was used for this analysis. There were no statistically significant changes in height or weight (p>0.05).

CONCLUSION: The present study displayed that shoulder flexion ROM could be improved following eight weeks of 20-minute daily exercise activities lying lengthwise on a 36-inch foam roller. This outcome suggests that spinal alignment may have been improved following the intervention. Future research should evaluate the influence of a daily 20-minute foam roller intervention directly assessing thoracic kyphosis.


Updated version to be submitted at a later date.

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