If you have been running for a while, I’m sure your very familiar with the infamous foam roller. Although this thing is a pain in the butt..literally, its extremely helpful. Rolling improves circulation, which gets the body ready for a workout and helps it recover afterward. And because rolling breaks down knots that limit range of motion, it preps muscles for stretching. Instead of simply lengthening the muscle, a foam roller massages muscles intensely, much like a massage from a massage therapist, but without the heavy cost. Many injuries can be avoided through proper stretching and foam roller use. Many use it as a warm-up/cool down. Stretching is very beneficial and should not be forgotten. But in the case of muscle knots, stretching alone won’t be enough. When stretching a muscle with knots, you are only stretching the healthy muscle tissue, The knot remains.
Make sure you follow these points for proper Foam rolling exercises:
- Roll back and forth across the painful or tight area for 60 seconds.
- Spend more time directly over the knot or trigger point itself.
- Avoid rolling over “bone” areas.
- Roll the injured area two to three time a day. For prevention of injuries, 2, 3 times a week is best.
- Stretching after foam rolling is also beneficial.
ILIOTIBIAL BAND- Lie on your side with the roller near your hip, rest your other leg’s foot on the floor. Move along your outer thigh. Increase pressure by stacking your legs. Spend extra time on the more tender areas you encounter. Use your top leg and foot against the ground to decrease the force if you cannot tolerate the pressure initially. After a few days of rolling, your IT Band will loosen up and you should be able to tolerate full pressure (feet together off the ground).
CALVES- Put the roller under a calf. Rest your other foot on the floor. Roll from the ankle to below the knee. Rotate the leg in, then out. Stack ankles to add pressure.
HAMSTRING- Place the roller under your thighs. Roll from the knees to the buttocks. To increase the pressure, roll one leg at time, turning your leg in and out.
PIRIFORMIS- Sit on the foam roller and place one foot over the opposite knee. Lean into one buttock and roll forward and back, using your arms and supporting leg to control the pressure. Remember to keep rolling on the knots or the tighter areas.
QUADRICEPS- Lie on your stomach with a roller placed under the front of your thigh and slowly roll up and down from the bottom of your hip to the top of your knee.
BACK- Lie on your back on the foam roller. Cross your arms across the front of your chest and exhale deeply as you roll the middle of your back against the roller. This is a great stretch for your chest early in the morning before a run. =)
The IT Band, calves, and Piriformis are often used as a warm up before a run or workout, as it increases blood flow and releases muscle tightness that can interfere with proper running form.
The quad, lower back, and hamstring stretch are often used as a cool down after a run or workout. Rolling flushes out toxins to help recovery.
Foam rolling is one of those things that you will love to hate because it sucks and it hurts sometimes, but minutes after you will feel so good!!!! Happy rolling everyone =)