If youíve been sore recently, and really, who hasn't? Chances are youíve been told to try Foam Rolling. If youíre like most people the entire idea seems foreign and you canít stop yourself from thinking "thereís no way that piece of foam can help me." Believe it or not, those basic cyclical pieces of foam have more umph than you know. This myofascial release is known as a self massage for a reason, and it is an effective way to:
So where do you start? We recommend asking a fitness professional at your local gym to show you the inís and outís of foam rolling in person before you begin!
But if youíre eager to foam roll right away, we suggest starting with the calves, most of our daily activities have a negative impact on our calves and rolling them out will provide functional benefits on the rest of the body. To start, place one calf on the roller, and using the support of your other leg, roll the foam up and down the calf for about 20 seconds; be sure to roll on the sides as well and take deep breaths as the first time may be slightly uncomfortable.
Another common area of tension that most people enjoy rolling out is the upper back, the thoracic spine, which often gets stuck from spending most of our time sitting in one posture for extended periods of time. Sitting on the ground, place the foam roller just below your shoulder blades and support your head, lean back with a slight back extension and lift the hips up, pushing pressure into the back- begin by rolling very slowly up about an inch at a time. Going back and forth along the back as many times as you need, then set your hips down on the ground and rolling gently along the sides and obliques by resting your upper body and sides into the roller.
Another problem area for a lot of people is the IT band and quadricep muscles in the legs. To roll these out lay in a side plank position with your side hip on top of the foam roller and your opposite leg on the ground in front of you, supporting some of your weight as the IT bands can be sensitive to roll due to the tightness most people have here. Gently roll up and down from the hip down about Ĺ inch above the knee. Then turn onto your front, in a plank position and slowly roll the top of your thighs up and down the foam roller to release the quadriceps.
Now, there are many other additional ways to effectively use a foam roller to help assist you on your journey to fitness nirvana, but this is a good start to get you, rolling.
Happy foam rolling!