They see me rollin’, they hatin’, patrolling, they tryin’ to catch me [rollin’] dirty..
Whether you are a full-time athlete, gym rat, yogi, or someone simply suffering from muscle pain, investing in a foam roller can bring you a sense of relief and a new best friend! Foam rolling, a form of self-myofascial release, helps to treat muscle immobility, pain, improves blood circulation, stretches, and tones those tight muscles. Incorporating foam rolling techniques into your daily or weekly schedule can decrease your chance of injury, increase your blood flow, increase your recovery time, and increase your range of motion.
Foam rolling takes time to learn, will be hard, will hurt, and probably make you break a sweat, BUT it is so rewarding!
Below are 4 of my favorite foam rolling techniques that I incorporate into my weekly sessions:
Align your hands directly under your shoulders and place one calf on the foam roller with the other bent and flat on the ground. Then lift your butt a few inches from the ground to where you feel enough pressure from the roller applied to your calf. In a slow and consistent manner, roll forward and backward. You can turn your toes inward and outward to apply pressure to different parts of the calf. Flexing your foot up and down when you target a tight spot helps release the pressure. If you want to apply more pressure, you can cross your opposite leg across the one you are rolling to engage it a little more. Once you do this for a few minutes, switch to the opposite calf. P.s: this technique is very helpful if you are in pain from shin splints or plantar fasciitis.
Who would’ve guessed, there are 4 parts to your quads! Ok, If I’m being honest before I started doing my research I never made the connection to having 4 sets of muscles in your “quad”ricepts… Can I use being blonde as an excuse? Anyways, Start by placing the foam roller under you, near the tops of your knees and align your hands right under elbows. For more pressure go down to the forearms. Roll back and forth to about midline, but not too far up! Here you are targeting your Vastus Intermedius. If you turn your toes outward, you will be focusing more on your inner thigh, your Vastus Medialis! Turn your feet inward to get an angle on a portion of your outer thigh, your Vastus Lateralis! Found a tight and incredibly painful spot? Hold the roller still on that spot within your quad and slowly move your heel to your butt, creating a 90-degree angle. Do this a couple times on both legs. P.s: The fourth muscle of your quads you can target is your rectus femoris!
- IT Band:
Many people suffer from IT Band Syndrome (ITBS) when your IT Band is extremely tight or inflamed, causing pain in the knee. You would think, to release this pain focus on your IT Band. Incorrect! All you would be doing is causing more compression onto an area that is already compressed. Sometimes hitting the sore muscles directly will not help 100%, so you have to target the muscles surrounding it. In this move I am targeting the side of my hip, the tensor fasciae latae. You will straighten out the leg that you are going to roll and keep the other leg bent. Align your hands under your shoulders or for more pressure, you can move down to your elbows. Start with the roller up by your hip and only roll down a couple of inches. Your goal is to not roll down your whole IT Band, just the side of your hip. P.s: Other muscles you can target to release IT Band pain would be your glutes, back of your thigh, and your Vastus Lateralis (like I told you about above!).
This one is not a rolling technique but more of a way to get a deeper stretch through child’s pose. Just like the original child’s pose it targets the thighs, back, shoulder, neck and hips. Getting into child’s pose, take the foam roller and place is perpendicular under your arms. Choose a spot between your wrists and elbows to keep the foam roller, that is comfortable for you when you relax. When I do this stretch I mostly feel it opening up my chest and releasing the strain in my neck and shoulders, while still hitting the main anatomical focus of my lower back and thighs.
Now, as I am trying to help you improve your foam rolling technique and show you my favorite ways to use a foam roller, I am giving you a disclaimer: anything that looks good on the internet can go bad! This is why practicing foam rolling, educating yourself, and looking up videos how to correctly foam roll for other moves is extremely important and vital to correctly healing and toning your muscles!
And when others see you rollin’, they hatin’ 😉