You might have already incorporated dumbbells, resistance bands or even balance balls into your fitness training, but foam rollers are another set of tools that you should also look out for. It’s never too much when you’re trying to improve your health.
Corrective exercises help tremendously in reducing risks of chronic health issues and keeping our body in peak performance at all times. Proper use of stretching can go a long way in getting rid of some of the pain and discomfort you receive unknowingly as you go about your daily routines. With that, you need a good, reliable piece of equipment designed specifically for the job, and a foam roller is the best of them all.
Foam rolling is a type of self-myofascial release in which pressure created during the process is applied and used to relieve pain. Using a foam roller allows you to do stretches anytime and anywhere you want due to how compact and lightweight they usually are. That said, the process of rolling with a foam roller can be quite hard to get used to at first, but try working through it for perceived benefits.
These basic foam rolling exercises below can help you get started on the right path. If any of them cause you overbearing pain or discomfort, please consider seeking advises from an expert or stop it altogether.
Tight calves and limited ankles mobility can seriously hamper your movement and fitness progress. Foam rolling helps decreasing the fascial restrictions in your lower leg for injury prevention and improved sports performance.
START: Sit on the floor with your legs straight out. Place a foam roller horizontally beneath the calf muscles of the legs.
FINISH: Slowly roll the foam roller up and down the legs, between the knees and ankles. Repeat the process as many times as you want.
Iliotibial (IT) band roll
This exercise helps ease the tightness in the iliotibial (IT band) running up the outside of your thighs which can cause pain in your knee joints.
START: Lie on one side and place a foam roller under your bottom leg. Use your hands and the other foot for support.
FINISH: Start just below the hip bone, slowly roll the roller toward the position just above the knee. You can roll back up and repeat the process or switch to the other side and do the same.
We carry a lot of stress in our upper back and shoulder areas, particularly the lats, the large, flat muscle on the back that stretches to the sides behind your arms. Using your body weight over the foam roller to create pressure on your lats can help improve muscle tension there and decrease the tightness of the relating muscle fibers, reducing stress.
START: Lie on your left side and extend your left arm straight up along the floor. Place a foam roller below your armpit.
FINISH: Slowly roll your body up and down along the roller. Switch sides and repeat the process.
Quads are a naturally dense muscle group, so stress can usually occur there. In order to relieve tight thigh muscles in this area, you can use a foam roller to improve the flexibility of the knees and reduce tension in your upper legs.
START: Lie face down and place a foam roller beneath your thighs. Place your hands on the floor for support.
FINISH: Slowly roll the roller down towards your knees and up towards your hips. Repeat the process for as long as you want.
Upper back roll
Lack of mobility resulting from tightness in the thoracic spine area can cause neck pain. Foam rolling the upper back can help open up the chest region and relax the upper back muscles.
START: Place a foam roller on the floor and lie on it horizontally from just beneath your shoulder blades. Place your feet on the floor, your knees bent and hand slightly clasped behind your back.
FINISH: Gently roll from your upper shoulders and then your lower shoulder blades. Stop to apply additional pressure when needed.