Foam rollers. Many trainers and physical therapists alike say that these inexpensive, long tubes are secret weapons against pain. There are reasons for that, too, because foam rolling can help to loosen tight muscles, build strength, improve tissue quality, release trigger points and increase blood flow.
Here are a few rollin’ moves to try:
For tight hips and buttock muscles as well as sore knees, lie on your left side with the foam roller under your left hip and your right leg crossed in front, with your foot flat. While supporting your upper body with your left forearm, your right hand on hip, and head in line with your spine, press into your right foot and start rolling down the side of your left leg just below the hip to just above your knee. As you roll, stop when you find a tender spot. Hold for 15 to 20 seconds and repeat three to five times. Switch sides and repeat process.
For your thighs, lie facedown with your thighs on top of the foam roller and your wrists under your shoulders. Contract your abs and lift up, stabilizing your movement with your shoulders, hips and core muscles. Roll between your hips and knees. Stop when you hit a tender spot and hold for 15 to 20 seconds. Then repeat three to five times.
For shoulders and chest, stand with your feet hip-width apart, and hold the foam roller down in front of you with your hands placed on either end. Straighten your arms and press in on either end of the roller while raising the roller at the same time so that it is parallel to the ground. Continue pressing in with your hands while you lower the roller to the starting position. Slowly, deliberately perform 15 reps.
For your abs, try this. While lying on your back and holding the roller the long way at the top end above your body, bend your knees and lift them up towards your hands, pinching the low end of the roller between your feet. While releasing the roller from your hands, extend out your arms and your legs with the roller between your feet and legs. Next, slowly bring your legs and arms back in, while passing the roller from feet to hands, then extending your body again—with the roller in your hands. That’s one rep. Repeat 15 times.
Have fun rolling!
In order to avoid risk of injury, please seek advice directly from your physician, especially if you have existing medical issues, before beginning any exercise or nutritional program. Also, be sure to stretch after exercise to avoid muscle and joint tightness.