Breakin’ Down the Foam Roller

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I was SO stoked that so many of you were interested in knowing more about how to most effectively use your foam roller!  Here, I break down my go to moves by muscle group. I recommend performing each of these exercises for a minimum of one minute, at least 3-5x a week. Before we get your muscles feeling AMAZE, couple of things to keep in mind when you’re foam rolling: keep this SLOW and CONTROLLED – it is dangerous, and not as effective if you’re rushing through these movements + really focus on breathing through each movement – avoid tensing the muscles you’re rolling over. Got it? Good! Let’s get rollin’!

  1. Shins – In a straight arm plank, place the foam roller right below your knees. Using core strength, move your body so the roller moves from the bottom of the knee to the top of the ankle along your shins. Adjust your body weight right & left to really hit every inch of each shin!
  2. Quads – Dropping to your forearms, and without rolling the foam roller over your knees, bring the roller to the area right above your knees. Using your core, push yourself backwards, then pull forward, so the foam roller glides from the top of your knees to the bottom of your hips. You can isolate each leg here, by bringing yourself up to a straight arm plank, then letting one leg rest on the foam roller, while the other relaxes out to the side, letting that foot aid in moving your body back and forth. quad-1
  3. IT Band – Your IT Band runs along your outer thigh. Come into a side plank, with the foam roller right underneath the area right above your knee cap. Gently lower yourself onto the foam roller, and move your body so it hits your outer thigh from the top of your knee to right underneath your tush.fullsizerender-12
  4. Calves – In a reverse plank (fingers face your feet, wrists right below your shoulders), place the foam roller underneath the bottom of your calf. Keeping either both calves on the foam roller, or alternating one leg then the other, move the foam roller by driving through your palms from the top of your ankle to right below the back of your knee.
  5. Hamstrings – From the calf position, let the foam roller come to the top of the back of your knee, and gently roll it up to right underneath your bum. Option again here to either do both hamstrings at the same time, or to intensify, complete one leg, then the other. hamstring-1
  6. BOOTAYYY – Sitting on the foam roller, bring your right foot over your left knee, adjusting your body so one butt cheek is resting on the foam roller. Driving through the heel on the ground, move your body so the foam roller moves from the area where your butt meets your thigh, to right below your lower back. Then, switch. fullsizerender-13
  7. Lower back – I recently realized I’ve been doing this ALL wrong –  you should not place the foam roller on your lower back, and roll from above your bum to the middle of your back – in fact, if you have low back issues the way you arch your back here can actually make your issues worse! Instead,  I’ve learned that focusing on your hamstrings, glutes & hip flexors actually relieves stress on your lower back because those are the muscles supporting your back! So, given we’ve already covered hamstrings & glutes (aka bootay in this post :)), I’ll break down hip flexor foam rolling. Bring yourself into a straight arm plank, rest the front of your thigh on the roam roller (start right in the middle of your thigh), then slllloowwwwllyyyy move your body so the foam roller moves up to the top of your hip, then back down. Then, switch sides. fullsizerender-14
  8. Upper back – There are a variety of exercises you can do for your upper back, but I have two favorites. First, lay down on the foam roller so it is running parallel to your spine without letting your head hang off the end (if you have a shorter foam roller, just skip this one!). Then, bring your hands into cactus (or so elbows are out wide, in line with your shoulders, forearms facing up towards your head) and gently move your arms up and down (elbow going down towards your head, then up towards your head), and in and out (so they’re meeting right in front of your eyes). Really focus on driving your body weight into the foam roller here. Second, come into a side plank with the foam roller right below the middle of your rib cage, gently lower yourself onto the foam roller, and roll from the middle of your rib cage to right underneath your arm pit, feeling that good burn in your lats (or that middle back, right in between your waistline and your arm pits). fullsizerender-11

Have questions/comments/concerns? LMK & happy massaging!

xx,

AK

 

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