What costs about $20 and has the therapeutic benefits similar to a massage? A foam roller! Personal trainers and physical therapists use foam rollers to help their clients/patients break up fibrous tissue and alleviate soreness. But you don’t need a specialist to help you do the foam roller exercises below. Check them out and email me if you have any questions!
General Guidelines for foam rolling (SMR - Self-myofascial release)
Try these exercises to help prevent injury and improve performance:
Front thigh roll (Quadriceps)
Lie face down with the foam roller under your right thigh. Put your forearms on the ground. Keep your left foot off the ground by stacking your feet on top of each other (toe of left foot on heel of right foot). Supporting your body weight with your forearms, roll up and down from the bottom of the hip to the top of your knee. Repeat on the other side.
Stabilize your body on top of the roller, gently rolling up and down across the front of the lower leg. Particular helpful for those suffering from shin splints.
Lie on your right side with the foam roller under your right gluteal area and your right leg extended straight out. Bend your left knee and rest your left foot behind your right. Place both hands on the floor for support. Roll your right gluteal muscles. Repeat on the other side.
Sit with the roller under your right thigh. Place the palms of your hands on the ground (fingers pointing toward your body). Keep your left foot off the ground by stacking your feet on top of each other (heel of left foot on toe of right foot). Supporting your body weight with your hands, roll up and down from the bottom of your hip bone to the top of your knees. Repeat on the other side.
Prop your body up on your arms/hands, being sure to support yourself with a shoulder joint that is closed and packed. Roll the extent of the calf, performing plantar and dorsi flexion in order to capitalize on the gastrocnemius and the soleus. It is common to get fatigued, especially your wrists, in this posture, so take breaks when necessary.
Where to get a foam roll
When choosing a foam roll, product density is important. If the foam is too soft, less than adequate tissue massage is applied. Generally black foam rollers are higher density, and more durable. White or blue rollers slightly softer. If starting with a black foam roller, keep the pressure light until your body is accustomed to rolling. I prefer a 6”x36” round roller for versatility and balance, but you may get a 6”x18” if space is a concern. Foam rollers can be found in sporting goods stores and online.
I am a personal trainer, health coach and fitness instructor. I want to educate and empower you so that you will be able to challenge yourself, safely and effectively, even when we are not working together. Check out these workouts and articles.