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Stop Ignoring That Foam Roller

Using a foam roller has been popular among athletes, coaches, and therapists, but people at all levels of fitness are able to use them. They can be incorporated into a warm-up or cooldown of a workout or part of a daily routine. Sometimes they can be used for therapeutic reasons.

Foam rolling is a form of self-myofascial release, or a self-massage to release muscle tightness. It can be an aid in muscle recovery and can assist in returning muscles to normal function.

Benefits:

  • Reduce muscle pain, soreness, or inflammation
  • Increase in range of motion which can also improve flexibility
  • Increase blood flow and oxygen to muscles

Types of Foam Rollers:

  • Smooth rollers: best for typical muscle pain or soreness
  • Textured rollers: best for deep muscle pain or knots
  • Stick rollers: best for massaging the legs and upper back
  • Ball rollers: best for targeted areas such as tight shoulders

Some Exercises:

  1. Calves: Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front and hands behind you. Place the foam roller under your calves and roll back and forth between the back of the knees and ankles.
  2. Hamstrings: Sit with your right leg on the foam roller, cross your left ankle over your right ankle, and hands behind you. Roll up and down from your knee to just under your right glute. Switch legs and repeat.
  3. Quadriceps: Lay facedown on the floor and place the foam roller under your hips. Lean on your right leg and roll back and forth between your hip and knee. Switch legs and repeat.
  4. Glutes: Lay on your side and place the foam roller under your right hip. Roll between from your hip and your knee. Switch sides and repeat.

Safety:

Foam rolling is considered beneficial and safe unless you have a current injury. If you have a current injury you should see a doctor first or you could possibly worsen it. It’s also important to note that when using a foam roller you should avoid rolling over joint areas like the top of the knew, elbows, and ankles.

If you’re new to foam rolling, know that it can be a little bit uncomfortable at first. Go lightly and if you find an area particularly painful, decrease the pressure slightly, or work on the surrounding area instead.

Written by GUADS staff member Toni with contributions from www.breakingmuscle.com and www.sweat.com

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