Foam rollers are an invaluable part of a healthy runner’s warm-up and cooldown routine. Form rolling before a work out can improve circulation and mobility without negatively affecting performance. Performing this type of self-massage after a workout can help reduce muscle fatigue, decrease neuromuscular exhaustion and reduce post-workout muscle soreness.
Here’s a quick guide on how to use a foam roller.
1. Calf Roll
Start by sitting on the exercise mat with both legs extended straight out in front of you. Place the roller underneath the left calf. Rest the right foot on the floor or cross the right leg over the left for increased intensity. Place your hands on the floor behind you, then raise your hips off of the floor. Slowly move your body forward and backward so your left calf muscle rolls over the foam roller. Slide over the muscle for about a minute and a half, then repeat the steps on the right calf.
2. Quadriceps Roll
Get into a plank position then place the roller above your knees so your quads rest on it. Using your forearms and elbows, move your body back and forth to slowly roll your quads between your knees and pelvis. Turn over to the inner thigh area and work into the adductors towards the inner groin. Do this for about a minute and a half on each leg.
3. Hamstrings Roll
Sit on the floor and place the roller beneath the right thigh. Bend your left knee and place your hands flat on the floor behind you. Lift your bottom so the roller supports your lower body. Use your hands to slowly slide back and forth and slightly side by side from the knees to the glutes. To increase pressure, cross the left leg over the right and roll up and down from the knee to just under the butt cheek. Repeat on left leg.
4. Glutes Roll
Sit on the roller with the soft, meaty part of the glutes directly on top of the roller. Straighten your right leg and bend the left leg. Slowly move your glute back and forth to release any tight spots in the muscle. Cross the left ankle over the right knee putting your weight on your hands for support. Slowly roll back and forth along the left outer hip and glute. Shift to the gluteus medius to find trigger points, then concentrate on the area for about a minute and a half. Repeat on left side.
These foam roller for legs exercises will help release tension, increase mobility and performance. You can perform them before your workout, after your workout or at any time of the day.
To see me in action doing each of the above, check out my video below: