Foam rolling and self-massage have grown in popularity over the past few years. In addition to the physical benefits of breaking up scar tissue or fascial adhesions (the nodes under the skin), there are also mental benefits, as they can help you relax and de-stress. When combined with stretching, full-range strength exercises, and focused breathing, foam rolling can dramatically improve overall motion and range of motion.
One of the best ways to release tension from the muscles is using long, wide passes over the bulk of the target muscles. The pressure from the foam roller should not exceed five or six out of 10 when trying to relax the muscles. Most of the muscles in the body can benefit from regular foam rolling, including the quads, fascia latte tendon (TFL, the muscles near the IT band), hamstrings, calves, glutes, upper back, and chest.
Spend 30-60 seconds in one or more of the muscle groups listed below, then stretch those muscles to increase your range of motion.
OccupyPlace the foam roller under the front side of the legs and support the torso by placing your hands directly under your shoulders and arms straight. Slowly roll from the top of the knees to the bend of the hips, propelling the movement with the arms.
TFL: You cannot wrap the IT band with foam to relieve tightness on the side of the thigh because the tissues do not stretch or contract; It is controlled by a small but very powerful muscle on the lateral side of the hip. To reach this muscle, place the foam roller under the front side of the legs and rotate your left hip upward by 45 degrees so your left leg is not on the foam roller and is on the side of the right quad (but you shouldn’t) Be fully lying on your right leg. Use your arms to roll up and down. Feel free to adjust your angles as you move. Then repeat on the other leg.
calvesPlace the roller under both calves. Lift your hips off the floor with your hands, keeping your shoulders in a comfortable position. Using your arms, move the legs forward and backward to target the calf muscles.
hamstringsPlace the foam roller under the back of the thighs. Lift your hips off the floor with your hands, keeping your shoulders in a comfortable position. Using the arms, push the legs forward and back from the bend of the knee to the bottom of the butt to target the hamstrings.
brigades: Sit on a roller with your hands behind your hips for supports. Cross your right leg over your left leg and shift your weight onto your left glutes. Roll slowly up and down the gluteal muscles. Add a slight rotation to the position if necessary to target the lateral aspect of the glutes.
upper back: Lying on the foam roller, place it under the middle of your back. Place your hands behind your head to gently support the neck and lift your hips off the floor. Roll up to the bottom of the neck and back to the middle of the back, driving the movement from your legs.
chest / beach: In a kneeling position, place one end of the foam roller on the floor and the chest muscles will be opposite the other end so that they are at an angle. While maintaining pressure on the muscles, slowly move the arm up and down as if you were making a snow angel.