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Foam Roller Exercises

As a collegiate athlete I  found myself in the training room doing self-myofascial release exercises. Don’t be alarmed, I was not recovering from any torn muscles, sprained joints, or broken bones – I was simply “rolling out.”

Self-myofascial release, better known as self-massage or “foam rolling,” is the practice of releasing muscle tightness. It has evolved from an elite, physical therapy practice to an everyday, household choir for people of all fitness levels. This is due to the introduction of information, technology, and affordable products to the general public.

Using your own hands, lacrosse ball, Thera Cane or my preferred method, a Trigger Point foam roller, you can preform self-myofascial release exercises in the comfort of your own home. By applying pressure to trigger points on your body you are able to aid tight muscles in recovery. Trigger points are specific knots that form in the muscle after an extensive workout. They are most easily identified by the pain associated with applied pressure… if you have ever rolled your iliotibial (IT) band out after a long run, then you know the pain all too well.

Try these 5 foam-rolling exercises with helpful instructional videos from Trigger Point to aid in your recovery process.

Calf: Great for increasing mobility to the lower leg

  • Place GRID on the ground and take a seat behind it
  • Position leg in center of GRID, with opposite leg on top for extra pressure if needed
  • Slowly (about 1 inch per second) roll half way up the calf, then back down for 4 times
  • After the 4th time, perform 4 rotations of the leg by first rotating the leg in then out
  • Repeat this process at the top half of the lower leg

Quad: Hips can become tight after hours of sitting. Use this release to get natural movement to the hips

  • Place GRID on the ground and lay on top of it
  • Place leg on the center of the GRID, with GRID near the knee
  • Slowly (about 1 inch per second)roll halfway up the thigh, then back down for 4 times
  • After the 4th time, perform 4 knee bends by bending the knee as far as comfortable then relaxing leg back down
  • Repeat this process at the top half of the thigh

IT Band: Similar to above, if the hips get tight, the IT Band and associated structures can become painful.  Use this release to encourage the muscles around the IT Band to work correctly

  • Place GRID on the ground and lay on top of it with GRID on side of the leg
  • Place leg on the center of the GRID, with GRID near the knee
  • Slowly (about 1 inch per second)roll halfway up the thigh, then back down for 4 times
  • After the 4th time, perform 4 knee bends by bending the knee as far as comfortable then relaxing leg back down
  • Repeat this process at the top half of the thigh

Glute: Pressure from bodyweight after many hours per day, will cause the area of the glutes to become “stuck”.  Foam rolling this area will bring blood flow and movement for better function

  • Place the GRID on the ground and sit on top of it
  • Rotate body towards side being rolled and place same side hand on the ground for support
  • Keep leg outstretched on the ground and slowly (about 1 inch per second) roll through the glute for 4 times
  • After the 4th time, place hands and feet on the ground for leverage and shift the body side to side in a friction motion

Thoracic Spine: Stress and lack of normal movement causes the area of the upper back to become tight and restricted.  Rolling this area can release the tension and allow normal movement to occur

  • Place the GRID on the ground and lay on top of it, with the GRID near the bottom of the shoulder blades
  • Place hands behind the head to support the head and allow the neck muscles to relax
  • Lift the hips off the ground and slowly (about 1 inch per second) roll towards the top of the shoulder blades for 4 times
  • After the 4th time place the hips back on the ground and shift the upper body side to side in a friction motion

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Dustin Canada
About me

Dustin is the Wholesale Manager at Perfect Bar.

One Reply to “Foam Roller Exercises”

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