The Foam Roll

  • September 05,2017

Foam Rolling is an excellent way to lengthen muscle fibres and reduce tension which may predispose you to having pain. Like a massage, foam rolling involves broad pressure across tight areas to allow relaxed tension and improved flexibility - the best part however, is that all you need is your trusty foam roller and a floor! Backed up by research, this method of 'Self Myofascial Release' (SMR) has been proven to improve range of motion both before and after exercise 1.

There are many uses for a foam roller; the only limitation is your creativity. To get you started, here are a few options for making use out of your foam roller:



ITB - The Illio-tibial Band:

An essential for runners, cyclists and weight lifters. Foam rolling can be a great way to help stave off ITB friction and knee pain (See Post: Runner's Knee). When foam rolling the ITB you want to target the outer thigh. To do this, simply lay on top of your foam roller side-on so that the roller is contacting the outer part of your thigh. Using your elbow and stance leg as a support, gently roll up and down the length of the ITB.



Calves/Hamstrings:

Foam rolling the calves and hamstrings are very similar, essentially you need to have the muscle you intend to release on top of the roller. Using your stance leg and arms for support, gently roll up and down the length of the muscle belly.




The Glutes:

The glutes can take a bit of practice and balance to get a good release. To start, sit on top of the roller favouring the side you intend to release. From here, cross that same leg over the other. Using your stance leg and arms for support, roll along the length of the glutes targeting those tight spots.


The Quadriceps:

To roll the quadriceps you will need to lay face down so that the roller in underneath the front of your thigh. Using your arms and stance leg, slowly roll up and down the length of the quadriceps.

*OPTIONAL: bend the leg you are targeting for a more intense release.



The Lower back:

This method is a great way to relieve lower back stiffness and can double up as a midback (thoracic) mobilisation. To do this, lay your back on top on the roller and roll up and down the length of your back ensuring that you maintain your breathing throughout.

*OPTIONAL: To target the midback further, raise your arms above your head and extend over the roller.



The Latissimus Dorsi:

Lay on top of the foam roller so that it is underneath the outside of your armpit. Keeping this arm raised over your head you can either gently roll up and down the Lats or rock forward and back allowing a deeper release around the shoulder blade.



The foam roller is a great tool to implement into your own exercise and recovery routine. For further information, or to make a purchase, please enquire at the clinic. Now get out there and get rolling!


References:

(1) Cheatham SW, Kolber MJ, Cain M, Lee M. THE EFFECTS OF SELF‐MYOFASCIAL RELEASE USING A FOAM ROLL OR ROLLER MASSAGER ON JOINT RANGE OF MOTION, MUSCLE RECOVERY, AND PERFORMANCE: A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW. International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy. 2015;10(6):827-838.