Roll for Relief and Relaxation

Lets be honest when you read that title you didn’t think you’d be reading an article on foam rolling.  Some of the most common questions we get in our fitness centre are “What are those things? What am I suppose to do with it?  Does it really work?  When we get these question most people are referring to foam rollers. 

Menshealth.com and bodybuilding.com have some great information on foam rolling and the benefits of it and we’ve outlined some benefits and short program below.

Foam rolling is self massage in which pressure is applied to certain body parts to relieve tension, pain and relax muscles. It is a great way to both start and finish any workout or sporting event. Most fitness centres will have a wide variety of rollers.  You can also pick up a foam roller and most sporollerrting good stores and they are great to use at home. Try a variety of rollers to see which feels best and fits your needs.

urlTo foam roll properly, apply moderate pressure to a specific muscle or muscle group using the roller and your bodyweight. You should roll slowly, no more than one inch per second. When you find areas that are tight or painful, pause for several seconds and relax as much as possible. You should slowly start to feel the muscle releasing, and after 10-30 seconds the discomfort or pain should lessen.

If an area is too painful to apply direct pressure, shift the roller and apply pressure on the surrounding area and gradually work to loosen the entire area. The goal is to restore healthy muscles – it is not a pain tolerance test. Never roll a joint or bone.

images9 Foam Rolling Exercises

  • Calves: Begin seated on the floor. Place a foam roller underneath your lower leg. Your other leg can either be crossed over the opposite or be placed on the floor, supporting some of your weight. This will be your starting position. Place your hands to your side or just behind you, and press down to raise your hips off of the floor, placing much of your weight against your calf muscle. Roll from below the knee to above the ankle, pausing at points of tension for 10-30 seconds. Repeat for the other leg.
  • Hamstrings: In a seated position, extend your legs over a foam roll so that it is position on the back of the upper legs. Place your hands to the side or behind you to help support your weight. This will be your starting position. Using your hands, lift your hips off of the floor and shift your weight on the foam roll to one leg. Relax the hamstrings of the leg you are stretching. Roll over the foam from below the hip to above the back of the knee, pausing at points of tension for 10-30 seconds. Repeat for the other leg.
  • Lower Back: In a seated position, place a foam roll under your lower back. Cross your arms in front of you and protract your shoulders. This will be your starting position. Raise your hips off of the floor and lean back, keeping your weight on your lower back. Now shift your weight slightly to one side, keeping your weight off of the spine and on the muscles to the side of it. Roll over your lower back, holding points of tension for 10-30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
  • Quads: Lay facedown on the floor with your weight supported by your hands or forearms. Place a foam roll underneath one leg on the quadriceps, and keep the foot off of the ground. Make sure to relax the leg as much as possible. This will be your starting position. Shifting as much weight onto the leg to be stretched as is tolerable, roll over the foam from above the knee to below the hip, holding points of tension for 10-30 seconds. Switch sides.
  • Lats: While lying on the floor, place a foam roll under your back and to one side, just behind your arm pit. This will be your starting Keep the arm of the side being stretched behind and to the side of you as you shift your weight onto your lats, keeping your upper body off of the ground. Hold for 10-30 seconds, and switch sides.
  • Biceps: While lying on the floor, place a foam roll under your back and to one side, just behind your arm pit. This will be your starting position. Keep the arm of the side being stretched behind and to the side of you as you shift your weight onto your lats, keeping your upper body off of the ground. Hold for 10-30 seconds, and switch sides.
  • Glutes: Sit with your buttocks on top of a foam roll. Bend your knees, and then cross one leg so that the ankle is over the knee. This will be your starting position. Shift your weight to the side of the crossed leg, rolling over the buttocks until you feel tension in your upper glute. You may assist the stretch by using one hand to pull the bent knee towards your chest. Hold this position for 10-30 seconds, and then switch sides.
  • Adductor: Lie face down with one leg on a foam roll. Rotate the leg so that the foam roll contacts against your inner thigh. Shift as much weight onto the foam roll as can be tolerated. While trying to relax the muscles if the inner thigh, roll over the foam between your hip and knee, holding points of tension for 10-30 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.
  • Middle Back: Lay down with your back on the floor. Place a foam roll underneath your upper back, and cross your arms in front of you, protracting your shoulders. This will be your starting position. Raise your hips off of the ground, placing your weight onto the foam roll. Shift your weight to one side at a time, rolling over your middle and upper back. Pause at points of tension for 10-30 seconds.