Rolling the Hot Spots
You may be wondering why this is important to you. Your muscle is like a rubber band and the further you stretch it the further it will launch when you let it go. If you can increase your elasticity in the muscle by improving your flexibility, the result will be increased power and improved performance. Foam rolling, also known as self myofascial release, is like getting a massage without the expense of a massage therapist.
In this article you will find a way to roll some of you major muscle groups utilizing a foam roller. The foam roller is one of the most effective, all-around self-maintenance tools you'll find for releasing tension while improving mobility. These exercises will release and organize your musculature, as well as release and align your skeletal system. Once you begin using foam rolling techniques you will wonder how you ever got along without them. Think of these foam rollers as an insurance policy against injury. Muscle pulls, strains, tears, and even the breaking of bones can be avoided by attaining flexibility and skeletal alignment. Working with the foam rollers gives you both of these. You'll feel its effectiveness from the very first time you use a foam roller. Foam rollers usually cost less than the price of a single massage. You will have in your possession something you can use everyday, at your leisure, which will enable you to understand and break your own pain cycle. It's like having your own physical therapist, chiropractor, and masseuse at your beck and call.
We all accumulate tension in our muscles and in our joints from over use, lack of stretching, and the aging process which leads to poor flexibility. The rollers not only release chronic muscular tension and pain, but can actually restructure your skeletal system so that it aligns more positively with gravity. Whether for general fitness or rehab sports performance, foam rollers are used to improve balance. They are also used for Pilates exercises and massage therapy. They enhance balance, body awareness, muscle re-education, muscular flexibility and dynamic strength.
Foam Roller Stretching Exercises
By: Michael Lovegren
-Balance on both hands, shoulder blades down, and tighten core
-Roll from knee to ankle, if possible, toes pointed up and out
-Corkscrew hips and move foot, if possible, as you roll
-Exhale as you push hips away; inhale as you pull hips toward
Side Calf (Peronius Group)
-Balance on left elbow and right hand, keep hips up, and maintain a tight core
-Roll from knee to ankle, stack legs
-Same breathing pattern as calf roll, yet move foot, if possible, as you roll
Front Calf (Tibialis Anterior)
-Balance on two hands and pressure left shin
-Shift body to apply pressure to the muscular part of shin (do not put pressure on bone)
-Roll from knee to ankle with same breathing pattern as calf roll, but replace knee instead of hips
Side Quad (Iliotibia Tract)
-Set up like side of calf roll but start on the hip
-Roll from knee to hip, slowly roll to find "hot spots"
-Corkscrew motion, if possible, stack legs or drop right foot to ground
Quads (Quadriceps Group)
Balance on elbows, face down, with quads on foam roller.
-Work your way up the roller, tighten core
-To place greater emphasis on one leg(left), cross right leg over the back of left, or shift body weight to the left
Inside of Quad (Adductor Group)
-Balance on elbows inside roller, left hip and knee flexed on top of roller
-Roll from hip to knee, slowing for "hot spots"
-Shift weight toward roller for more pressure “stretch
Back (Thoracic Spine Mobility)
Begin with roller around mid balance with back flat, glutes raised, feet flat and close to glutes, shoulder blades down and depressed
-Roll from mid to upper back, side to side to emphasize a stretch in the spine and lumbar/thoracic region.
-Arms raised straight up or behind head
-Same breathing pattern as calf roll