Foam Roller: Best Exercises, Benefits, Tips, and How to.

In recent years, foam roller has gone mainstream. Once a self-massage technique used only by professional athletes, coaches, and therapists; foam rolling is now an everyday practice for people at all levels of fitness. There’s a reason for the popularity of this self-massage technique: it’s simple, and it works!

Foam Roller Best Exercises, Benefits, Tips, and How to

Exercise often can induce various degrees of fatigue in the musculoskeletal, nervous, and metabolic systems. Various amounts of discomfort or pain and inflammation can be associated with exercise, depending on the frequency, intensity, duration, and type of exercise performed.

After intense exercise, this discomfort and pain commonly are associated with delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS)

It’s caused by your exercising, leaving your muscle fibers and connective tissue with micro-damage. It causes pain and soreness in the affected area and generally lasts a few days. The good news? There’s a way to ease the pain! For achy muscles, nothing is better than Foam Rolling. Yes, it really can be that simple!

What is Foam Rollering ?

Foam rolling is also called myofascial release.  But what is fascia? And why do you want to “release” it? Fascia is the thin tissue that connects our muscles. Think of it as your body’s internal packaging—it helps muscle groups cooperate as integrated units. When it’s healthy, fascia is flexible, supple, and glides smoothly over your muscles. But binding in your fascia can form for a variety of reasons, such as muscle injury, inactivity, disease, inflammation, or trauma. Even just sitting at a desk all day can get your fascia “gummed up” and stiff.

What is Foam Rollering

A foam roller is a simple cylinder (usually made of foam or flexible plastic) that you can lay on in various positions, allowing your body weight to put focused pressure on affected muscle groups. Try rolling your quads, glutes, and hamstrings—or even muscles in your back, hips, and shoulders. Rolling over problem areas can help release that built-up tension in your fascia and re-establish muscle tissue integrity (and optimal performance).

This blog will help you better understand foam rolling, how to carefully use the foam rollers, the benefits of foam roller’s, and the best Foam roller exercises.

How Does Foam Rolling Work

Foam and tube rolling training work by applying localized pressure to chosen areas of the body using, prescribed techniques.

When pressure is applied with a roller, it to help increase the circulatory flow through that area, reducing soft tissue damage and improving movement dynamics.

During foam rolling, individuals use their own body mass on a foam roller to exert pressure on the soft tissue. The motions place both direct and sweeping pressure on the soft tissue, stretching it and generating friction between it and the foam roller.

Foam rolling can be considered a form of self-induced massage because the pressure that the roller exerts on the muscles resembles the pressure exerted on the muscles through manual manipulation by a massage therapist.

Similar to massage, foam rolling may benefit the recovery of dynamic (multijoint, sport-specific movements) measures for the duration of the DOMS. Hence, it is credible that foam rolling will aid in recovery from DOMS and help to maintain physical performance.

Foam Roller Uses

Foam rollers help reduce the risk of injuries, joint pain and improve your energy and movement capacity. Using a foam roller is a good way to loosen up muscles before a workout and reduce muscles soreness afterward. Try these foam rolling techniques to restore your sore muscles.

While doing foam rolling and with each pass through the muscle group, you can then work deeper into the tissue for more release. It is very possible to find several trigger points throughout your body. When you hit a spot that’s especially painful or tight, pause here and try to relax.

Give it time and the muscle should release—anywhere from 10-30 seconds. For more precise areas, try something like a lacrosse ball or tennis ball. You may go shorter or longer as needed as you get to know your body and how it responds to foam rolling.

Go very slowly and hold each position for 10-30 seconds or more. Remember to never roll over a joint or bone.

When to use foam roller

Foam rolling can be performed before and after your workouts. Before exercise, rolling will increase tissue elasticity, range of motion, and circulation (blood flow). This can help you move better during your workout and protect you from injury.

Post-workout Foam rolling is a great way to enhance recovery. Focus on all of the major muscles you just worked on, with an extra emphasis on the areas that feel problematic. By stimulating blood flow in affected areas, you’ll dramatically increase oxygen to your sore muscle fibers and reduce recovery time.

Foam roller Benefits

1). Ease muscle pain and reduce soreness

Foam rolling can be beneficial for easing sore muscles and reducing inflammation. Foam rollers help reduce soreness after an exercise session to promote the recovery process.

2). Improve range of motion and mobility

Poor mobility is often the result of the muscles and fascia becoming shortened, causing muscular trigger points, also known as knots. Shortened muscles then obviously affect the range of movement and mobility, whilst trigger points can often cause pain and muscular fatigue.

Myofascial release can break up the developed scar tissue and trigger points, allowing these muscles to stretch further and develop back to normal, increasing their range of motion.

3). Speed up recovery

Foam rolling broken up the built-up scar tissue in the muscles, and at the same time increasing blood into your muscle, providing your muscles with more nutrients and more oxygen. It also eliminates the overproduction of lactic acid. This boosts up the recovery process.

4). It restores muscles and prevents injury

Foam rolling will stretch and lengthen your muscles at the same time as breaking down developed scar tissue. As the scar tissue is broken down, it allows your muscles to stretch further. Again, as mentioned before, this structure helps to restore full range of motion and allows your muscles to load and perform better during sport and exercise, which, in turn, will prevent injury.

5). Help you to relax

Many people find foam rolling to be relaxing. Breaking uptightness in your muscles may help you feel less tense and calmer.

Further, slow deep breathing while stretching reduces tension, pain, and leads to improved flexibility. Thus, it would stand to reason that practicing slow deep breathing and relaxing while rolling may improve the response and the overall effectiveness of foam rolling.   

6). Reduce the adhesion

Tissue adhesions are created as the result of collagen binding between layers of muscle. If a muscle is held in a specific position during extended periods of inactivity or overused during repetitive motions, which can create adhesions or knots that restrict the ability of muscle sheaths to slide against one another.

The friction and pressure created by the regular use of a foam roller can keep collagen from binding between layers of muscle tissue.

7). Helps improve posture

Most of us have tension in our upper back, neck, and shoulders due to constant hunching over a computer at work, looking at our phones, and from sitting and driving. This constant slumping can create stiffness and tightness over time, not to mention postural imbalances.

Foam rolling has been shown to help increase joint mobility and range of motion. foam roller move helps release tension and relieve pain by realigning and massaging the shoulder blades, aligning the neck, and opening up the upper body

Top Tips For Foam Rolling

  • Try to identify your trigger point, and maintain constant pressure over the area for at least 10-30 seconds while slowly breathing, any discomfort or tenderness will gradually ease.
  • Try to relax while foam rolling. This will reduce the possibility of cramps
  • Never roll on a joint.
  • Slowly and specifically roll each targeted muscle for 1-2 minutes.
  • If an area is simply too painful to apply direct pressure, shift the roller and apply pressure on the surrounding area to gradually loosen the entire area
  • After foam rolling, perform some gentle static stretches to promote further flexibility
  • Rolling out can do more harm than good when rolling over the wrong areas, such as your low back, and rolling directly over a joint or bone.
  • If an area is simply too painful to apply direct pressure, shift the roller and apply pressure on the surrounding area to gradually loosen the entire area.

The exercises have been designed to help you enhance and optimize performance. Giving you a functional body that feels stronger with a reduced risk of injury and pain.

Let’s get started and make your body move and feel better.

Best Foam Roller Exercises for Legs

1. Hamstring (Back thigh)

Hamstring (Back thigh) foam roller
  1. Sit on the ­floor and place a foam roller underneath your legs, just above your knees.
  2. Relax your feet and legs. Use your hands to lift yourself up and roll back and forth from above the knees and to the beginning of your glutes.
  3. Keep your torso straight and your spine in a neutral position.
  4. When you find a sore spot, stop and hold the position for at least 30 seconds until you can feel the muscle relax.

2. Quadriceps (Front thigh)

Quadriceps (Front thigh) foam roller
  1. Lie on your front and place a foam roller underneath your thighs, just above the knee. Rest your upper body on your elbows.
  2. Using your arms, gently push yourself back and forth to roll from above the knee and to the top of the thigh.
  3.  Keep your spine and head aligned in a neutral position.
  4. When you find a sore spot, stop and hold the position for at least 30 seconds until you can feel the muscle relax.

3. Adductors (Inner Thigh)

Adductors (Inner Thigh) Foam Roller
  1. Lay face down, extend one leg and bend the other at the knee.
  2. Place the Roller vertically under the thigh of the bent leg and rise onto the elbows.
  3. Use the arms to push across, moving the Roller towards the hip. Pull through the arms to return to the start. Repeat on the other side.

4. Gluteus maximus

Gluteus maximus foam roller
  1. Sit on top of the foam roller and cross one ankle over the opposite knee. Use your hand to steady yourself.
  2. Relax your leg and tilt toward the bent leg. Slowly roll from the top to the bottom of the glute muscle.
  3. When you find a sore spot, stop and hold the position for at least 30 seconds until you can feel the muscle relax. Switch sides.

3. Calves

Calves Foam roller
  1. Sit on the ­floor and place a foam roller underneath your legs, just above your ankles.
  2. Relax your feet and legs. Use your hands to lift yourself up and roll back and forth from above the ankle to below the knee.
  3. When you find a sore spot, stop and hold the position for at least 10-30 seconds until you can feel the muscle relax.s

4. Iliotibial band (Outer Thigh)

Iliotibial band (Outer Thigh) foam roller
  1. Lie on your side and place a foam roller underneath your leg, just below your hip.
  2. Cross the opposite leg in front and steady yourself with your arm bent at 90 degrees.
  3. Relax your leg. Using your other arm, push to slowly roll back and forth from just below your hip to just above your knee.
  4. When you find a sore spot, stop and hold the position for at least 30 seconds until you can feel the muscle relax. Switch sides.

5. Shins

Shins foam roller
  1. On all fours, place the Roller under one shin (just above the ankle).
  2. Push through the arms moving the Roller towards the knee.
  3. Aim to keep the Roller on the muscle to the outside of the shinbone before pulling through the arms to return to the start. Repeat on the other side.

6. Outer Lower Leg

Outer Lower Leg foam roller
  1. On all fours, extend one leg and place the Roller under the lower part of the leg (just below the knee).
  2. Push through the opposite knee and both arms to turn the torso so the Roller rests against the side of the lower leg.
  3. Push through the arms and bend the knee, moving the Roller towards the ankle.
  4. Pull through the arms and straighten the leg to return to the start. Repeat on the other side

7. Hip Flexors

Hip Flexors foam roller
  1. Lay on your side, bottom leg extended, and top knee bent (ball of the foot firmly pressed to the floor). Place the Roller under the hip.
  2. Support the upper body on the elbow, using the other arm for stability.
  3. Push through the bent leg and pull through the arm to move the Roller across the hip area, tilting the hips if necessary to hit all angles of the muscle. Keep rolling with small movements. Repeat on the other side

Best Foam Roller Exercises for Shoulder

8. Side Shoulder

Side Shoulder foam roller
  1. Lay on your side with both knees bent. Place the Roller under the shoulder ( halfway down the upper arm).
  2. Using the bottom leg as support, roll the Roller up toward the top of the shoulder and return to start.
  3. Repeat on the other side.

9. Front Shoulder Hold and Stretch

Front Shoulder Hold and Stretch foam roller
  1. Place the foam roller under the upper chest where it meets the shoulder while using the other arm for support.
  2. Keeping the roller fixed, pulling the arm in a downward motion. Push the arm forwards as you were going to straighten it and repeat.

10. Front Shoulder Roll

Front Shoulder foam roller
  1. Place the foam roller under the upper chest where it meets the shoulder while using the other arm for support.
  2. Find a comfortable position for your lower body and push the roller a few centimeters forward and backward with your upper body.
  3. Repeats

Best Foam Roller Exercises for Back

11. Upper back Thoracic Spine (Roll)

Upper back Thoracic Spine foam roller
  1. Lay on your back with your knees bent, placing your hands behind the back of the head, with the foam roller just below your shoulder blades.
  2. Lift your hips off the ­floor and slowly push through your heels to move back and forth from your mid-back to the top of your shoulder blades.
  3. Keep your spine and head aligned in a neutral position.
  4. When you find a sore spot, stop and hold the position for at least 10-30 seconds until you can feel the muscle relax.

12.Upper Back Thoracic Spine (Hold and Stretch)

Upper back Thoracic Spine hold foam roller
  1. Lay on your back with your knees bent, placing your hands behind the back of the head, with the foam roller just below your shoulder blades.
  2. Keep your hips on the floor with your feet hip width apart. Slowly begin to fold backwards.
  3. Keep your hips on the floor, supporting your head. Begin gently to bend backwards over the roller.
  4. Stopping at a point where it feels comfortable. Return back to the starting position and repeat.

13. Upper back (Thoracic Spine Cross Friction)

Upper back Thoracic Spine slide foam roller
  1. Lay on your back with your knees bent, placing your hands behind the back of the head, with the foam roller just below your shoulder blades.
  2. Keep your hips on the floor with your feet hip width apart.
  3. Position your back parallel to the floor, then begin move side to side in a sideways motion.

14. Lats (Roll)

Lats foam roller
  1. Lay on your side and extend the bottom leg.  Bend the top knee, keeping the foot firmly pressed to the floor.
  2.  Place the Roller under the armpit and extend the bottom arm..
  3. Length the arm with the palm facing upwards, then use your legs to slowly shift your body 10–15cm upwards and downwards
  4. Repeat on the other side

15. Lat (Hold and Stretch)

Lats foam roller hold
  1. Lay on your side with the legs in a bent position that feels comfortable.
  2. Place the foam roller perpendicular to your body, under the middle to the upper part of your side back.
  3. The length of the arm with the palm facing upwards. Slowly pull the arm down towards your chest bending at the elbow. lengthen the arm and repeat.

Best Foam Roller Exercises for Arms

16. Biceps

Biceps Foam roller
  1. On all fours, extend one arm to the side and place the Roller under the elbow.
  2.  Keep the palm of the hand facing down. Using the other arm as support, push the arm to move the Roller towards the shoulder.
  3. Pull through the arm to return to the start. Repeat on the other side.

17. Triceps

Triceps Foam Roller
  1. On all fours, extend one arm in front of the body, placing the Roller under the elbow.
  2. Keep the palm of the hand facing up. Using the other arm as support, push the arm to move the Roller towards the shoulder.
  3. Pull through the arm to return to the start. Repeat on the other side.

18. Neck

neck foam roller
  1. Rest your neck on the foam roller, at the top where it connects to your head.
  2. Slowly turn your head to the right, holding where you feel a tightness.
  3. Exhale and turn your head to the left. Repeat for 10-30 seconds.

Takeaways

  • Foam roller exercises are a great way to start getting rid of aches and pains
  • It can be beneficial for easing sore muscles and reducing inflammation.
  • Foam roller exercises help increase joint mobility and range of motion.
  • Foam rolling can also be an important tool to use while cooling down after exercise.
  • If you regularly sit or stand for your job, or just have aches and pains, foam rolling can also be useful.

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