Hello hello! Today I want to share with you some of my favorite foam roller stretches that I use on a regular basis. I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I’ve recommended that a client turn to foam rolling to help with sore muscles, tight hips and a variety of other issues. Almost always my recommendation is met with surprise. It seems that even though foam rolling is inexpensive and relatively easy, most people just don’t consider it an important part of their fitness routine. Here’s a few reasons why they are wrong and why foam rolling is a great addition to your workout!
Foam rolling is a poor man’s massage. Foam rolling is a fantastic way to mimic the results of a deep tissue massage because it assists with myofascial release–a safe and effective way of applying pressure to connective tissue to eliminate pain and restore motion. The most common myofascial release moves are often used to treat pain from repetitive use in the iliotibial band (IT band), quadriceps and hamstrings
Foam rolling can serve as a method for acupressure. Acupressure is a method of applying pressure to certain trigger points to help release pain and tension in the body. Trigger points occur when there are microtears in the muscles that have become repetitive through a repetitive cycle of tear-repair. As you apply pressure to these points (muscles) the natural response is to relax, thereby relieving the body of tension.
Foam Rolling can increase blood flow to your muscles. Massaging your muscles, as you do with the foam roller, increases circulation throughout the body and thereby increases blood flow to the muscles. This helps with cell growth and allows your muscles to recover and get stronger faster.
Foam rolling helps increase flexibility by releasing muscles and allowing them to go deeper into stretches. This in turn, helps increase your range of motion, which then helps you perform your workouts better!
Foam rolling can help prevent injury and decrease recovery time. By helping the muscles release, you will be less likely to overstress them causing injury. Additionally, foam rolling helps with muscle repair, assisting with the decrease in recovery time.
So if foam rolling is so great? How do I do it? Glad you asked! I’ve got some of my favorite foam rolling stretches for you! All you need is a foam roller and a mat for your comfort. I personally love this foam roller for its ridges, the length and its sturdiness.
Upper Back Release
Start with the foam roller on the mat underneath your upper back with your hands behind your head. Bend your knees and place your feet on the mat but keep you glutes lifted off the mat. Gently use your feet to push yourself forward and back along your upper back.
IT Band Roll
Start with the foam roller on the mat just underneath your hip, lying on your side. Cross the top leg over the bottom so your top foot is flat on the mat. Use your foot to help you roll along the length of your bottom leg from the hip to the top of the knee. Repeat on the opposite leg.
Figure 4 Stretch
Lie on the mat and place the foam roller just under your hips and lower back. Take one foot and place it on top of the opposite thigh opening the knee out to the side. Lift the opposite leg up off the mat. Hold here and then repeat on the other side.
Sit on the mat in mermaid position with one foot in front and the other in back with both knees bent. Place the roller to the side of the front leg. Place one hand on the roller. Reach up and over with the opposite hand as you move the roller out away from your body. Repeat 4x. Hold the last rep and then repeat on the other side.
Lie prone on the mat on your forearms with the roller underneath your thighs. Use your arms to help push you forward and back allowing the roller to roll the length of your thigh muscles.
Lie supine on the mat with the foam roller underneath your ankles. Keeping your legs straight, lift one leg straight off the mat into the air and hold behind the leg. Try to keep your hips on the mat and your legs straight. Repeat on the other leg.
Sit with your hips on the foam roller. Extend your legs straight out in front of you with your feet flexed. Extend your arms straight out in front with palms facing down. Tuck your chin and curve through your back pulling your abs in as you reach forward towards your feet. Repeat 4x and on the last rep hold.
Upper Back & Shoulder Stretch
Lie on the foam roller with your knees bent and feet flat and the roller supporting your neck and head. Open your arms out to the side allowing your elbows to bend in a goalpost position and your arms to rest on the mat. Enjoy!
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I recommend including these stretches into your normal workout routine at least once a week to start reaping the benefits of foam rolling!
Excellent workout as always. It's challenging, fun and easily one of my favorite workouts!
Fantastic class! Great technique pointers. Always new exercises to challenge oneself!
I am excited to take classes with Brittany in person this summer! I have followed Brittany online for some time. I particularly like the Barre and Pilates workout videos. Her workout techniques reflect current thinking and best practices. She supports all levels of fitness. Definitely worth a try!
Brittany is the BEST. She is inspirational, motivational and innovative. No two classes are ever the same. I'm sad when the summer classes end, but I'm looking forward to checking out her online classes this fall and winter.
My wife and I decided to give Balance Barre Fitness a try and we were not disappointed. We thought the classes would be pretty easy but were surprised at how rigorous they were. The class was great for working on our coordination and core strength. I don't get to many ...