I am only 35….
Was what my muscles cried after a cocktail of morning workouts and long work days.
What the hell happened to me…
Was what my stiff neck said after sleepless nights on a concrete pillow and feeling like those sheep missed the fence and pounced on me instead.
Tightness. Stiffness. Painful hips. Achy shoulders. Knee pain. A recipe for not feeling your best in the morning. And — Yowzers! — it can come out of nowhere.
Body movement and getting your butt off the couch is touted for it’s healthy benefits. We all KNOW the benefits. But sometimes it can feel like a double-edged sword. Train like you’re the next Serena Williams on Monday, melt out of your bed onto the floor on Friday.
But it doesn’t have to be that way!
When I started long distance running, my body responded by tightening up faster than a rubber band ready to snap. I was in pain. My joints hurt. My bones ached. My skin cried out. Something had to give and I was hoping it wasn’t my hamstrings. That was when I discovered the power of the foam roller.
At first, I flopped around like a whale out of water. Ugly truth. But the more I did, the more I found relief and the more my aches and pains dissipated. Here is what I discovered and my 5 favorite rolling techniques to loosen me up. Scroll to the bottom for a bonus video!
Why You Should Foam Roll
Foam rolling is an incredibly beneficial technique that is like a delicious self-massage! It is actually very much like a massage. It directly targets something called myofascial tissue. The fascia is like a thin, opaque protective covering that hangs out under the skin and connects around the muscles. When this becomes tight, it can pull and tug and cause pain. Myofascial release is the technique name and it is a soft tissue therapy for the treatment of skeletal muscle tightness and pain. Here is what you could experience from regular foam rolling:
- Increased flexibility and decrease tightness
- Decrease aches and pains almost instantly
- Destress the mind and the body
- Detoxify the body
- Decrease common injuries
- Increased blood flow and opened up lymphatic system
- Decreased inflammation
- Decreased headaches and migraines
How To Get Rolling
- If you find that some areas are very tight and are painful under the foam roller, allow yourself to place static pressure on that area until some of the discomfort dissipates (about half the discomfort). At that time, allow yourself to lightly roll over the “hot spots” and increase pressure as you can tolerate it.
- Use the foam roller as a way to warm up before an activity or a way to “stretch” and slowly release the tension out of your muscles following a workout.
- Do not roll over top of joints as to this may be uncomfortable and place too much pressure on the less stable joint.
- Use slow and controlled movements and avoid being too “jerky.”
- If you are very tight and the pressure of the roller is too uncomfortable, start with only a few rolls (about 30-40 seconds) and slowly increase the time as tolerated.
- When you feel better and looser, DO NOT stop rolling. Continue foam rolling for regular maintenance and to receive all the incredible health benefits!
Balance on your forearm and place non-worked leg over the front of your working leg. You can use that leg to push you back and forth. Lying on your side, roll right above the knee to right below the boney protuberance on the side of your hip. Roll for about 2-3 minutes with slow and controlled movements.
Balance on your hands to work the hamstrings from your glutes to your knees. Cross one foot over the other to emphasize one side. Roll for 2-3 minutes.
Begin lying facedown with the roller under your quadriceps. Balance on your elbows. Work you’re way up or down the roller, from top of quad to right above the knee. Place greater emphasis on one leg, if needed, by either crossing over the back of the opposite leg or shifting body weight to one side. Roll for 2-3 minutes.
Start by sitting down and begin by balancing on your hands. Roll from right below your knees to the top of your ankles. Emphasize one side by crossing your legs and isolating one calf at a time. Do this with toes pointed out and up. Roll for 2-3 minutes for each leg.
Lying flat on your back, begin with roller around the mid of the back. Put your hands behind your head. Slowly roll to mid or upper shoulder area, depending on where you need to focus. You can roll to the right or left to emphasize one side. Roll for 2-3 minutes.
Here is a Facebook video I did to help explain even more.
Want to get started? Make out a list of areas to attack and reserve about 5-10 minutes after your workout to give yourself a self-massage that will loosen up your joints and eliminate your aches and pains. Devote 3-4 days per week to start to foam rolling your problem areas.
Did you know that foam rolling is one form of detoxing the body? It helps to decrease stress and inflammation and it helps to increase blood flow and lymph movement. Want more detoxing power? Scroll below…
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