Foam Roller

Foam roller exercises aid in reducing muscle tension, improving joint mobility, improving localised blood circulation, reducing the risk of injury and improving posture.

I describe what type of foam roller to look for and demonstrate how it can be used for self-massage. It is easily transportable and highly effective provided you know what exercises to use it for.

What is the best roller for me?
There are various types from soft to firm and ridged. You don’t need something expensive, but one that allows you to relax whilst applying muscle pressure. I recommend starting with a cheap, softer roller.

Lower Back

How to perform this:

• You’ll need a foam roller to begin.
• Be seated on the foam roller and pull the body forward with the feet so that the roller is over the lower back
• To focus on one side, with one arm on the floor for support, lift the same side leg with the opposite arm to round the lower back
Slowly roll up and down in segments from hip to lower ribs
• If you find a painful area, either stay on that area until the pain lessens or slowly roll over it. Remember not to arch the back and lean back.
Variation: Place the ankle of the bent leg over the opposite knee in a ‘Figure of 4 position’.


Upper Back

How to perform this:

• You’ll need a foam roller to begin. No foam roller? (see below)
• Be seated on the foam roller and pull the body forward with the feet so that the roller is over the upper back
• Place your hands over your shoulders and keep the chin tucked in
Rotate on one side of the body before changing sides
Slowly roll up and down in segments from the shoulder region to the lower ribs
• If you find a painful area, either stay on that area until the pain lessens or slowly roll over it. Do not to arch the back or lean backwards.

Variation:
Place the hands behind the head and bring the elbows and knees IN to round the back, followed by bringing the elbows and knees OUT to arch the upper back.

IMPORTANT: Avoid over-arching the lower back and neck


Glutes

How to perform this:

• You’ll need a foam roller to begin
• Be seated on the foam roller and place the same side ankle over the opposite knee in a ‘figure 4’ position.
• Use the same side hand to help balance and lean the body weight so that the pressure is over the glutes
Slowly roll up and down and if you find a painful area, either stay on that area until the pain lessens or slowly roll over it.


Quads

How to perform this:

• You’ll need a foam roller to begin
• Be kneeling on the floor and place the roller in front of the knees
• Come forward over the roller onto your elbows so that the roller is on the ‘Quad’ muscles.
• Slowly roll up and down in segments from hip to knee
• If you find a painful area, either stay on that area until the pain lessens or slowly roll over it.

Variations:
1. Both legs rolling
2. One leg at a time
3. Focusing on one side, with the opposite leg, pull the ankles with the foot so that the ‘Quad’ muscles are on stretch when rolling.

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