Foam rolling is essential in the recovery of tight, overworked muscles. By using your own body weight you can perform a variety of self massage techniques to break up trigger points, soothe tight muscles and increase blood flow and circulation. A foam roller can help release tension in connective tissue, work out knots in sore muscles and also stretch muscles and tendons.
Here are a few of my favorite stretches.
What you will need:
* Foam Roller
1. Quad Massage.
Start by coming to forearm plank, with both of your thighs on the roller (be sure to engage your abs to protect your lower back). Roll back and forth from your hip to your knees. If you would like to increase the pressure, try lifting one thigh off the roller and leaning into the roller with the leg you are massaging. Roll each leg for 60 seconds.
2. Hamstring Massage.
Sit on the floor with the foam roller under your knee and your legs extended straight over the roller. Roll back and forth until your hamstrings feel loose. To increase the pressure, try crossing one leg over the other.
I really like using a tennis ball to stretch out my hamstrings, I find it targets specific knots and kinks a lot better than the foam roller. Here is how:
Place the tennis ball under one of your legs while sitting on the ground. I have found that the best results come from elevating the leg that is not being rolled. Flex the foot of the leg you are rolling (by pulling toes toward you). Here you can really focus on any tender spots.
3. IT Band Massage:
This is one exercise that i have a true love/hate relationship with. It is quite intense when you first start rolling this area, but if you are consistent and patient, it will begin to ease up after a few sessions.
Lie sideways with the foam roller under the side of your thigh. Start from the hips and roll slowly all the way down to your knee.. As uncomfortable as this is, try to spend a little extra time holding on the more tender areas you encounter. Roll each leg for 60 seconds.
4. Glute and Piriformis Massage.
This is another stretch that I feel a tennis ball targets the problem areas a little more clearly, but you can try both.
Sit with your buttocks on top of the foam roller. Bend your knees, and cross the right leg so that the right ankle is resting over the left knee. Shift/tilt your weight to your right side. Roll over the buttocks until you feel the tension in your glute, again holding in areas that feel especially tender (this is more apparent when rolling with a tennis ball). Repeat on other side.