Hey guys! If you exercise regularly, or just simply have tight muscles/knots from stress and inactivity, then you need to get a foam roller and roll out those muscles everyday. Today I will cover everything you need to know about foam rolling, and the best way to use a foam roller.
What Is Foam Rolling? – What Does it Do?
Foam rolling is the best way to recover and loosen up your muscles, other than stretching. It is a type of corrective exercise called Myofacial Release. When you roll our your muscles is loosens up the white webbing around your muscles called “facia.” Your fascia tightens around your muscles and the only way to loosen them up is to foam roll.
Using a foam roller also helps with sore muscles, so if you roll out when your muscles are sore it will help them recover faster. If you are having pain in your muscles that is not from soreness you can use a foam roller to help with the pain, because more than likely there is a knot. If you roll your muscles and you find a “speed bump” it is a knot. When you have a knot, you need to roll over it and stop on it for a few seconds and then slowly roll over it. This will help release the knot.
However, you do not want to roll your muscles for more than a few minutes. If you roll for a long period of time it will make it worse.
When Should You Use a Foam Roller?
You can foam roll your muscles before or after a workout. You can also use it when your muscles are sore, as well as when you feel your muscles are tight or in pain from a knot. When you use a foam roller, the tighter you are, the more it hurts. The more often you do it, the less it will hurt because that means it is getting looser.
If you ever get a cramp, roll it out. It will really help prevent your muscles from tightening up and causing pain.
How To Use a Foam Roller – The Best Ways
Below are the most common ways to use a foam roller, basically the major muscle groups.
Quads (Front of your leg)
You can do one at a time or both at the same time. It ads more weight and pressure if you do one at a time, so only do one at a time if you can handle it. Lie face down on the floor and put the foam roller under the top of your knees. Put your hands on the floor in front of you like you are about to do a push-up; then roll the foam roller back and forth from your knees all the way up to your hips. To do one at a time just put one leg on top of the other and do the same thing.
Why roll this muscle?: Most of us are “quad-dominant,” so foam rolling these muscles can improve the flexibility of your kneecap and improve your hip mobility. If you have knee/hip problems, then foam rolling might help relieve some tightness and pain. You can do it before or after a workout, or in the morning or at the end of your day.
Hamstrings (Back of your leg)
You can do both legs at the same time, or one at a time. Sit on the ground with the foam roll behind your knees; put your hands on the floor behind you, then roll the roller back to below your butt. Then continue rolling back and forth. To do one at a time, sit with your right leg on the foam roller; cross your left ankle over your right ankle, and put your hands on the floor behind you. Roll up and down from your knee to just under your right butt cheek. Then switch legs.
Why roll this muscle?: Rolling your hamstrings can help with soreness, improve hip mobility, and decrease stress on your low back. This really helps if you sit at a desk all day, because your hamstrings can get really tight. You can do it before or after a workout, or in the morning or at the end of your day.
Sit on the floor with your legs straight out, and your hands on the floor behind to support your weight. Put the foam roller under your calves, then roll back and forth from your knees to your ankles. You wont realize how tight they are until you roll them.
Why roll this muscle?: Having tight calves limit your movement and ankle mobility. You can use the foam roller on your calves in the morning, after sitting all day to improve blood flow, or after a workout to help with soreness.
Outer Thighs (IT Band)
Why roll this muscle?: This is the most important part of your body to roll. There is a band on the side of your legs called the IT band, and it connects from the side of your hip to the side of your knee. When this gets tight it can cause knee and hip problems. Rolling this band can decrease stress on your hips and knees to help with pain. It is also the part of your body that hurts to roll the most, but the more you do it the better it will get. Just don’t do it to much. You can do it before or after a workout, or in the morning or at the end of your day.
Why roll this muscle?: Your glutes have a lot of fascial layers and by rolling them it will increase blood flow, as well as improve your mobility and hip range of motion. You need to foam roll your glutes after sitting all day, or before or after a workout. It will help with cramping after a heavy leg day and help with soreness.
Sit on the floor with the foam roller on your lower back, cross your arms in front of you, and bend your knees. You will have to tighten your abs to support your back, so this one is a little harder. Slowly roll the foam roller up to your mid back (just below your shoulder blades), then back down to your low back. Continue back and forth.
Why roll this muscle?: Low back pain is very common, and foam rolling can help bring some relief. Many people get tons of knots in their back too, so rolling it out will help. It can also help with soreness. You should foam roll your back after sitting all day to decrease stiffness, or before/after a workout.
Shoulder Blades and Sides of Your Rib
Lie on your back with the foam roller behind your shoulder blades. Lace your fingers loosely behind your head and lean your upper back into the foam roller. Use your abs and glutes for stability, and slowly press into the roller on your one side, raising the opposite shoulder. Roll from your underarms to the bottom of your rib cage. Then switch sides.
Why roll this muscle?: Many people carry stress in their upper back and shoulders, which means tons of knots, so rolling them out will help decrease tightness and relieve those trigger points that can hinder your mobility. You can roll this muscle any time of day, mostly when you are stressed.
Smaller Foam Roller
If you have severe back and neck problems and it is hard for you to use a large foam roller on the ground, then you need a Tiger Tail. It is a smaller foam roller you can use on your neck, low back, and all the muscles listed above. It is MUCH easier to use.
Foam rolling is one of the best things you can do to live a life of longevity. If you don’t take care of the tightness in your muscles, they will get tighter and tighter as you get older. This will prevent you from even being able to move in your old age. Stay active, keep rolling, and live longer!
Live Well and Live On,