If you were lucky enough to attend Sandy’s May Madness Foam Rolling class, you KNOW how great foam rolling is. If you have never tried it before – stop by Fit2Excel to test out some of the foam rollers we have and give these exercises a try (easy to do at home too!).
FOAM ROLLING EXERCISES
Foam rollers are the most popular mechanism for self-myofascial release, or SMR. This is often called the “poor man’s massage”. Some of the most obvious benefits are increased blood flow throughout the body, better movement & increased range of motion. You loosen tough connective tissue & decrease the stiffness of your muscles. This helps your flexibility & mobility & keeps your muscles functioning properly. As a result, foam rolling is valuable both before & after a hard workout.
At first, you may find rolling to be uncomfortable. This will be especially true for the muscles that need it the most. The more it hurts; the more you need to roll. The good news: roll regularly & you’ll notice that your muscles will become a little less tender.
For each muscle that you work, slowly move the roller back & forth over it for 30 seconds. If you hit a point that’s particularly tender, pause on it for 5-20 seconds.
In a pinch, you can substitute a basketball, tennis ball or a section of PVC pipe. Experiment with different rollers – I use a regular hard roller for most areas – if I have an especially tight area I use a SOFT roller(inner thigh etc) – I found mine on Amazon.
Ideally, you do it before & after a workout. When one is limited with time(as most of us are) & can only choose one time to roll, pre-workout will get you the best results. Rolling for as little as 5 minutes before a workout can have a great impact on the quality of each training session. Done before, it warms up muscles & increase flexibility by breaking down adhesions between muscle fibers & allowing more blood flow to pump through your body & helps to reduce tension in muscles. As part of a cool down, it helps to flush out blood that has pooled in the working muscles & allows fresh nutrients & oxygen to come in & begin the healing process.
I like to roll over each area a minimum of 10 times, then move on unless I find a painful area(trigger point) that I hold on for a few seconds to allow it to soften. Avoid rolling directly over bones or joints.
Sit on the floor with your legs out straight, hands on the floor behind you supporting your weight
Place the roller under your right ankle with your right leg straight. Cross your left leg over your right ankle. Roll your body forward until the roller reaches the back of your right knee. Then roll back & forth. Repeat on your left leg. IF IT’S TOO UNCOMFORTATBLE with 1 leg on top, perform the movement with both legs on the roller.
HAMSTRINGS: 3 ways – 1 leg on -1 bent, 2 legs on, 1 leg on-1 on top of leg
Sit on top of the roller with both legs straight in front of your & hands behind you Roll forward & backward from just above your knees to just below your glutes. Sit with your right leg on the roller, bend your left knee with foot on ground & hands behind you. Roll up & down from your knee to just under your glutes. To INCREASE INTENSITY-cross your legs at the ankle & shift your weight to 1 leg while rolling back & forth. ALSO HELPS TO RELIEVE A TIGHT LOWER BACK.
GLUTES-HELPS TO OPEN TIGHT HIPS – WHEN IT BECOMES TOO TIGHT, IT CAN IMPINGE THE SCIATIC NERVE, CUASING PAIN & NUMBNESS IN THE LOW BACK OR LEGS. THIS STRETCH CAN HELP.
Sit on the roller with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, hands behind you for support. Cross one ankle onto the opposite knee. Tilt your bend knee down toward the floor to open your hip. Slowly roll back & forth. Repeat on the other side.
LOWER BACK ROLL-Lie with the roller under your mid back. Your knees should be bent, with your feet flat on the floor & hands behind you for support. Raise your hips off the floor slightly. Roll back & forth from mid back to top of your glutes.
UPPER BACK ROLL-lie with roller under your shoulder blades. Cradle your head in your interlaced fingers & focus your eyes toward your knees. Engage your core & riase your hips up slightly off the floor. Using your feet for leverage, slowly roll your body up & down between the bottom of your shoulder blades to the top of your rhomboids.
SHOULDER BLADES ROLL-lie of roller at the top of your shoulder blades. Cross your arms over your chest. Your knees should be bent, with feet flat on the floor. Raise your hips slightly. Roll back & forth over your shoulder blades & your mid /upper back.
QUADS & HIP FLEXORS ROLL-Lie facedown on the roller with it above your right knee. Cross your left leg over your right ankle & place your elbows on the floor for support. Roll your body backward until the roller reaches the top of your right thigh. Then roll back & forth. Repeat on other side.
If that’s too hard, do it with both thighs on the roller.
IT BAND ROLL-Takes pressure off tight knees! Lie on your left side & place your left hip on roller. Put your hands on the floor for support(can also go on bottom forearm). Cross your right leg over your left, & place your right foot flat on the floor. Roll your body forward until the roller reaches your knee. Then roll back & forth. Repeat on other side. FOR AN EVEN DEEPER RELEASE, STACK YOUR TOP LEG STRAIGHT ALONG YOUR BOTTOM LEG. The it band is a tough strip of connective tissue that runs down the side of your thigh, starting at your hip bone & connecting just below your knee. When it comes to rolling, you’ll probably find this tissue is one of the most sensitive areas that you can roll over, perhaps due to high tension in the band. You should make it priority, though, over time, an overly tense IT band can lead to knee pain.
OUTER THIGH & HIP-Lie on our side with the roller under your right hip. Bracing your abs & glutes for balance, slowly roll down from your hip to your knee. Switch legs.
INNER THIGH ROLL- Lie facedown supporting yourself on your forearms. Place the roller at a 45° angle against your inner thigh. Starting at your groin area, roll back & forth slowly from the very top of your inner thigh to right above your knee. Engage your core to stabilize your spine. Repeat on other side. (move hips & pelvis back & forth.
FOOT ROLLS – with Golf ball or lacrosse ball-toes, ball of foot, arch, heel & sides of feet.
SHIN – Start on your hands & knees with roller under you. Bring one knee forward placing your shin on the roller with ankle angled inward so that your shin is on the roller. Keep core engage & spine neutral. Slowly push yourself forward & back rolling over your shin.
Control the pressure by applying more or less body weight on the roller. Use your hands & feet to offset your weight as needed.