More than a trend, foam rolling is being adopted by people everywhere to help soothe sore muscles and aid with recovery. Using a foam roller increases the blood flow to muscles, reducing soreness, tightness, and risk of injury. Compared to static stretching, a foam roller can significantly increase your range of motion — leading to improved flexibility. Try using a foam roller before a workout to get your blood circulating, after a workout to help soothe tight muscles, and anytime throughout the day to relieve tension and improve flexibility.
Foam rollers come in many shapes and sizes. There are long ones, short ones, firm ones, soft ones, rollers with bumps and ridges. All work to accomplish the same thing — self massage. Not sure which is best for you? Check out this guide on foam rollers!
Foam rolling will help enhance your results and speed up recovery times, so what are you waiting for?! Grab a roller and join along with these moves targeting specific areas of the body. Perform each roll for 20-30 seconds, or 5-10 slow rolls. Spend longer on problem areas!
Foam Rolling for Your Back and Chest
Relieve tension in your back and improve flexibility using a foam roller. Try these moves!
Upper Back Roll:
Lie on your back and place a foam roller underneath your upper back. Cross your hands over your chest. Keeping your feet on the ground, raise your hips off the ground, focusing your weight on the roller. Roll back and forth from mid to upper back slowly. Shift weight from the center, to the left, and right sides of your body to completely stretch your upper back.
Lower Back Roll:
In a seated position, place a foam roller on your lower back. Rest your arms behind you on the ground for support. Lightly lift your bottom off the ground, tighten your abs, and bend your knees to move the roller up and down your lower back. Use your hands for support and make sure not to put too much pressure on your spine.
Lie on your right side, right leg loosely outstretched, and left leg bent with your left foot flat on the floor. Place a foam roller beneath your right armpit. Rest your right hand lightly on your head or stretch it out straight in line with your body for a more intense stretch. Let your left hand rest on the ground or foam roller. Keeping your upper body off the ground, roll down about 4 inches from your armpit towards your waist. Roll back and forth along your latissimus dorsi muscles. Once finished, switch to the left side and continue to stretch your lats.
Lay face down on the floor. Place a foam roller under your chest, just below your armpit on the right side. Extend your right arm forward. Place your left arm on the floor nearby for support. Press your chest into the roller and gently roll back and forth a few inches, massaging your right pectoral muscle. Switch to your left side to complete the stretch.
Foam Rolling for Your Legs
Get the most out of your leg workout by foam rolling! Add these moves to your stretching routine and recover faster.
While seated, position a foam roller under your upper right leg. Place your hands behind you or to the sides for support. Keeping your right leg on the roller, plant your left foot on the ground near the foam roller bending your knee. Use your hands to lift yourself off the ground and slowly roll your right leg back and forth on the roller from above your knee to right below your butt cheek. Make sure you include your inner and outer hamstring by shifting your leg as you roll. Switch sides and repeat with your left leg.
Sit on the ground with your right calf resting on a foam roller and your left leg bent, left foot on the floor nearby. Place your hands behind you or to the sides for support. Using your hands and left leg for balance, lift your body and shift weight to your right calf. Foam roll your right calf from below the knee to above the ankle, getting the inner and outer parts of the muscle. Switch legs and repeat on the left calf.
Lie facedown on the floor propped up by your forearms in front of you. Place a foam roller underneath your right hip, lifting your right foot off of the ground. Using your forearms for support, lift your body off of the ground shifting as much weight to your right quad as is comfortable. Your left knee may remain on the ground or hover. Roll from above the knee to below the hip, rotating slightly from side to side for a full stretch. After 20-30 seconds switch sides and stretch the left quad.
Sitting on top of a foam roller, place your hands behind you or to the sides for support. Cross your right leg over your left knee and shift your weight towards the right hip. Roll your right butt cheek back and forth over the roller slowly, feeling the stretch. Switch sides and repeat.
Foam rolling can be a great addition to any routine! With benefits like decreased soreness and increased flexibility, there is no reason to avoid this trend any longer. If you are wary of investing in your own roller, check your local fitness center! They will likely have a foam roller you can test out.
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