292017Mar
Foam rollers are simply good

Foam rollers are simply good

I’m not going to lie, we stole this one directly from GQ.com – surprisingly, it just happened to explain things in a very GQ way. Please consult your osteopath if you’re not sure if these exercises are for you!

Foam rollers (FR) can reduce pain, prevent injury. Here’s how to use one.

By now, you’ve probably seen all kinds of foam rollers scattered around your gym. Vibrating ones. Knobbed ones. Extra long, torso-sized ones. Foam rollers that actually roll up and fit in your carry-on. If you’ve never used one, the fitness tool looks a lot more like a Mega Man buster gun than an essential instrument for overall fitness and health. And now is the time to start.

“Using a roller will make you more efficient in every movement you do,” says fascia and alignment specialist Lauren Roxburgh, who has worked with her fair share of professional American Basketball and Baseball players. “It will help you roll away density, scar tissue, and knots that build up in your body, lubricate joints, and reduce inflammation in the body while increasing flexibility and range of motion.”

So essentially, foam rolling is to your workout plan like Bruno Mars is to the music industry: groundbreaking. But, like Mars, it can’t really be for everyone, right?

Turns out, like “Uptown Funk,” it can be. “[A roller can] help you reach your highest physical potential, whatever your age or stage. So whether you want to reduce persistent pain, boost your fitness or improve your pickup basketball game. The roller can really help.”

All of that for the very reasonable price of $35ish. For advice on how to use one, Roxburgh breaks it down for us by muscle group.

Lats

Lie on a mat with the roller placed under your upper back, leaning your mid-back over to the left on the roller. Interlace your fingers behind your head to support your head and neck. Using your feet to drive the movement, inhale as you roll up and lean to the left on the roller to massage the lats and underarm area, stopping at your armpit. Exhale as you roll and massage down the armpit and lats, stopping at the bottom of your ribcage, and then roll back up.

Repeat this movement 8 to 10 times on each side.

Quads

Come down to your forearms with your stomach facing the floor. Place the roller under your hips. Keep your abs engaged to prevent overarching your lower back. Exhale as you roll all the way down to the tops of your knees. Inhale as you slowly roll up to your hips.

Repeat this motion eight times on each side.

Adductors/Inner Thighs

Come down to your forearms with your torso facing the mat, and place the roller under your right upper inner thigh. (To do this you will need to bend your right knee up and out to the side and place the foam roller up and under your groin, parallel to your torso.) Taking care to keep your upper body square to the ground as you move, use your forearms and left leg to power the motion as you roll the roller out toward the knee—stopping just above it—and back up to your groin.

Repeat this motion eight times on each side.

Hamstrings

Sit on your mat and place the roller beneath your hamstrings. Place your hands behind you with fingertips pointing out to the side. Press your hands into the mat to lift your bottom off the floor. Continue pressing your hands into the mat and engage your core to rock yourself forward and backward, pushing the roller up and down the hamstrings, from just under the bones at the base of your pelvis that you sit on to just above the knee. Breath deeply, exhaling as you move forward and inhaling as you move backward.

Repeat this motion eight times on each side.

Calves

With the roller placed under your calves, right below the knee (but take care to stay off the back of the knee). Cross your left calf over your right calf on the roller. Place your hands on the ground a few inches out on either side of your hips, fingers pointing outward. Press down into your hands to lift your bottom off the mat, keeping your calves balanced on the roller. Roll out each calf 10 times.

Upper back (added)

This is the big one they left out, your upper back. Type 1: Firstly, position the top of the roller (vertically) where your collar would be, then have the FR right down the middle of your back. Keep both knees bent up and your feet should be the only part of your body touching the ground, with your pelvis either on the FR too, or suspending above the ground. Place both arms out like you are surrendering and let your arms fall to the ground, initiating a pec stretch. This is the perfect reversal of your computer or car posture!

Type 2 (harder): As seen above, with the FR horizontal. Ensure you don’t roll below the base of your rib cage. Use your hands to hold your neck up, and preferably keep your elbows pointing to the ceiling to pull your shoulder blades out of the way. Do a few ‘drive-by’ or rolls to assess the sore areas, often you will notice one or two spots that are more tender than the rest. They are the ones we want to pause on for 15-30 seconds. Try to breathe through them and allow your body to relax, but this can be a bit much unless you are used to it.

Did you notice what was missing? We left off the ITB…ask us why! While you’re at it, ask us how to add your glutes in here too.

Roughly, I would use the FR for my back 1-2/week, and as needed for the rest of my body! As you can see, some simple home exercises to add to your stretching regime that can help relieve tension but help your recovery.

Look after yourselves,

Evan