About a decade ago, Foam Rollers were like this weird foam piece of equipment that most athletes had no clue how to use. Today the Foam Roller is more readily available, but there is still one problem…Most athletes do not know how to use one.
Here is a brief explanation of not only what a Foam Roller is, but how, when, and why you should use it:
What is Foam Rolling?
Foam Rolling is a self-myofascial release (SMR) technique that is used by athletes to inhibit overactive muscles. This form of stretching improves soft tissue extensibility, but also relaxes the muscle to allow activation of the antagonist muscle
How do I use a Foam Roller?
To apply the techniques are very simple. Foam Rolling uses pressure on a specific surface of the body. You should always apply pressure to sensitive areas in their muscles that are called Trigger Points, or knots.
The use of the Foam Roller has taken us from an acupressure approach to my reason from Foam Rolling which is self-massage. The roller is now usually used to apply longer more sweeping strokes to muscle groups like the calves, adductors, and quadriceps. You may also use it in a small directed force on areas like the TFL (Tensor Fasciae Latae), hip rotators, and glute medius.
When do I Foam Roll?
There is no agreement on when is the best time to Foam Roll, or even how to to roll, but I pretty much tell all of my clients that they should Foam Roll for 5-8 minutes before and after their workout. That includes in the gym or on the mat. Foam Rolling prior to the workout can decrease muscle density and promote a better warm-up. Foam Rolling after the workout can help muscles recover from a grueling workout.
Here is a list of some areas that I feel everyone should be Foam Rolled every day for 15-20 seconds each:
Gluteal Muscles, Piriformis
Lie on your right side with the foam roller under your right glute and your right leg extended straight out. Bend your left knee and rest your left foot behind your right. Place both hands on the floor for support. Roll out your right glute muscle, after this is complete…repeat on the other side.
Lie on your right side with the foam roller just below your hip bone. Extend your right leg straight out, and bend your left leg than place it in front of your right leg. Place your right hand on the floor for balance, and roll along your outer thigh from the below your hip bone to just above your knee. Repeat on the other side.
Lie face down with the foam roller under both of your Quads. Put your forearms on the ground. Supporting your body weight with your forearms, roll up and down from the bottom of the hip to the top of your knee. Repeat on the other side.
Sit with the roller under your right thigh. Place the palms of your hands on the ground (fingers pointing toward your body). Keep your left foot off the ground by stacking your feet on top of each other (heel of left foot on toe of right foot). Supporting your body weight with your hands, roll up and down from the bottom of your hip bone to the top of your knees. Repeat on the other side.
Sit with the roller under your right calf. Place the palms of your hands on the ground (fingers pointing toward your body). Keep your left foot off the ground by stacking your feet on top of each other (heel of left foot on toe of right foot). Supporting your body weight on your hands, roll up and down from the along your calf. Repeat on the other side.