The foam roller is such a wonderful tool, but many people do not know how to use it properly or integrate it into their workouts. Let’s demystify it!
Foam rolling improves circulation, reduces muscle tightness and trigger points (knots in your muscles). It is similar to getting a massage and the compression helps to reduce adhesions and increases the blood flow so that muscle tissues can be restored.
It is called self-myofascial release technique. Fascia is an elastic type of connective tissue that wraps around many structures in the body including muscles. Using a foam roller activates the stretch reflex in the muscle and softens tight areas.
- foam roll before your workout as part of your warm-up for maximum benefit
- breathe deeply and pay attention to trigger points, stopping in those places until the pain subsides 60-70%
- let yourself make noise – I encourage vocalization to support releasing your muscles
- roll injured tissue
- roll joints
- roll your lower back
- roll if you are pregnant
BASIC AREAS TO ROLL
1) IT Band (Illiotibial Band)
Begin by lying on your side with the foam roller near the top of your hip and step your top foot flat onto the ground. Angle your knee slightly upward toward the ceiling. Slowly let the roller move down toward your knee, stopping at places that feel tight and take 5-10 deep breaths allowing that area to relax. Repeat this same action with your leg angled slightly downward toward the ground. Your IT band connects to both your quadricep and hamstring so you want to roll both attachment areas.
Lie on your stomach and slowly roll along the front of your thigh from the top of your hip down to just above your knee. Stop before the joint. You can also slightly angle your feet in one direction at a time to gain access to different areas of the muscle.
Sit with your buttocks on the roller and feet flat on the ground. Cross one ankle over the opposite knee and flex that foot. Gently breath and roll until you find the trigger points.
Lie on your side with one arm extended overhead and place the foam roller just below your armpit. Gently roll down a few inches down toward your pelvis. Be mindful of not putting too much pressure on your ribs.