Staying fit isn't always about sweating it out. Show your hardworking muscles some TLC with a foam roller massage. An essential fitness tool, the foam roller is perfect for warming up and cooling down. Watch this video to learn five massaging moves to bring length to tight muscles and prevent overuse injuries so you can keep working out all year long!
In these crazy economic times, it can be difficult to rationalize spending your hard earned cash on a massage, no matter how over worked your muscles are. If you push yourself in your workouts, you can still treat your body right with a DIY massage using a foam roller.
Costing anywhere between $10 to $25, a foam roller is cheaper than a visit to a spa, and you don't have to make an appointment. If you're already familiar with rolling out your IT band, here are five more massaging moves to try with a foam roller.
Wouldn't it be nice to end every active week with an intense deep-tissue massage to help ease your muscles? But since we can't always spring for a trip to the spa, here's what we can do — use the foam roll at the gym.
You may have seen people in the gym foam rolling and think it's just for serious athletes or gym rats, but that's not the case. But there are many reasons why massaging out the tight knots in muscles is an important part of your workout routine, even if you already stretch regularly. Why? Because no matter how much you stretch, the build up of fascia that creates muscle knots that won't go away, which can lead to many different problems.
I've been consistently seeing my trainer for a few weeks, and the aftermath is clear: not only am I working new sets of muscles (meaning new ways of being sore) but I'm also realizing how much more I need to be foam rolling. My trainer, Tim Rich at Crunch Gym, says that everyone, avid athlete or not, should be using those long spongy cylinders daily. Read on for why and how you should be foam rolling every day.
- Helps prevent common injuries. One of the most important reasons for a regular foam-rolling routine is to prevent those often too common exercise-related injuries. Many runners, for example, become painfully well acquainted with their IT band if they don't take care to massage the band of tissue. IT band syndrome and other similar flare-ups can be caused by too-tight muscles. Foam rolling every day ensures you are massaging away fascia buildup in your muscles, in order to help prevent those areas from becoming injury trigger points.
- Helps you de-stress. Had a hard day? Foam roll your worries away. Digging for those knots "releases tension that is built up in the connective tissue to keep you less stressed," says Tim. He recommends a simple all-over body routine in order to combat the "desk posture blues" that happen from sitting too long in the office.
- Keeps you flexible. Building up your flexibility is key for any fitness routine, Tim says, which means you constantly should be stretching and doing exercises that'll help you gain flexibility. Stretches that lengthen your hip flexors, for example, can help combat tightness from sitting as well as lower back pain.
The more regularly you use a foam roll on your tight muscles, the less painful it'll be. Ready to roll? Here are five important stretches you should be doing with a foam roll, and a video on how to foam roll your quads and IT band for elongated, flexible, and injury-free thighs and happy knees.
There's nothing quite like a sports massage to help one feel rejuvenated and refreshed. Unfortunately, we don't all have the time and money required to pamper ourselves on a routine basis. Enter the foam roller. The cylindrical apparatus can provide your body relief in your own home or at the local gym. It helps the body relax and stretches it in ways that are often left to therapeutic masseuses. Come check out a few simple rolling techniques that will have your body smiling inside and out.
- Psoas Stretch: If you have tight hip flexors or lower back pain, try the psoas stretch. Lie perpendicularly on the foam roller with your sacrum just on top. Pull one knee up to the chest with the opposite heel on the ground. Hold for 30 seconds and switch legs.
- Quad Release: Do you run or climb much? The quad release exercise helps release tension in those muscles. Lie face down with your quads on the roller and your hands on the ground. Using your hands, roll yourself back and forth over the roller to massage the quads.
- The IT Band Stretch: Avid runners know that the IT band is not to be messed with. To keep your knees healthy and prevent them from tightening up too much, roll on the IT band area. This video shows you how to do it correctly.
Want more? Come check out some other moves that will massage the glutes, chest, upper back, calves, and shins!
Even if you're only lifting weights or doing body resistance exercises, you should still cool down. A great cool down for your lifting days is stretching the worked muscles for five minutes. Then using a foam roller over the worked body parts for another five minutes. Your tired muscles will appreciate the love after making them work so hard.
Need ideas for stretches? Be sure to check out all the stretches I've posted about.
It can be used with your exercise routine, to rehabilitate injuries, or for workplace health. It provides active support because it's filled with air - it molds to your body, encouraging healthy joint movement.
It's made with Torflex, a soft, latex-free medical grade PVC, which gives it a malleability and a comfortable skin-like feel. What makes the BodyBolster unique is its adjustability — a valve allows you to deflate it with a squeeze, and with another twist of the valve it self inflates — there’s no need to blow it up!
Here are some ways you can use the BodyBolster: For back support while sitting at your desk or in the car, use as padding to make stretches more comfortable, add to exercises to make them more challenging, or use as a physical therapy tool.
For $44, the BodyBolster comes with a DVD user guide demonstrating: 13 neck and back release exercises, 11 core strength and stability exercises, 13 stretches for the whole body, and 10 seated back and neck stretches.
Watch it and try it.
If you have a yoga bolster, you can use that instead of a foam roller. The stretch might not be as intense, but it will still be beneficial.
Also, let me know if you have any questions about this stretch. I am always happy to clarify.
I have had lots of requests for thigh trimming exercises and I know a thing or two about bulky thighs - having speed skater thighs myself. A lot of factors are at play when it comes to body shape. There is genetics - when I look at the legs of all my female relatives and see many "speed skaters." But the outer part of the quad tends to overwork and the inner part of the leg and the hamstrings tend to be lazy. Evening out this musculature imbalance can help bulky thighs elongate.
So here is the first video in our IT IS THIGH TIME series.
- Do not roll over your knee when rolling your quad - that would hurt!
- Rolling the IT band can be painful, so call "uncle" when you need to. But my theory is the more painful it is the more you need it.
Keep your eyes peeled for more IT IS THIGH TIME videos.
You've seen them at the gym — the simple cylinders, about 3 feet long. You've seen white ones. You've seen blue ones. You've even seen ones that look like a squeeze of Aquafresh toothpaste. But what is it really?
It's a foam roller and can be a great work out tool if you know what to do with it.
So, if you want the skinny on the foam roller, read more