We both suffer from bad backs and after my back went again last week I thought it would be appropriate to talk a bit about using a foam roller to aid in stretching out and looking after your muscles. Using a foam roller is like giving your muscles a deep tissue massage and can be awkward and uncomfortable at first. However, it’s definitely worth doing pre and post workout as it’s great in helping you to warm up, can reduce inflammation and joint stress as well as improve your flexibility, recovery and circulation.
- Roll too fast, the movement should be slow and controlled.
- Directly massage the areas that are painful, instead massage a few inches away from that area in smaller, more localised regions before rolling larger areas.
- Use the foam roller on your lower back as your muscles will contract to protect the spine.
- Roll over each spot 5-10 times, you don’t have to spend too long on each bit, just make sure the movement is controlled!
- Try to do it as often as you can, repeated exposure will bring about the best results!
- Concentrate on your posture when rolling out as often you have to hold your body in certain positions over the roller, such as a plank position when rolling out your calves. For example, when doing this, make sure your spine is straight!
Here are a few movements we recommend to get you started:
1) Calves: Go into a backwards plank position – legs outstretched, palms face down on the floor supporting your weight. Place your calves on top of the foam roller and slowly roll from your ankles up to the back of your knee.
2) Outer Thighs: Go into a side plank positions and place the foam roller under your right thigh, with your left foot out on the floor in front of you for balance. Gently roll down from your right hip down to the side of your knee. Turn over to the other side and repeat this motion on the left thigh.
3) Upper back: Place the roller underneath your shoulder blades and gently roll it down towards your lower back, until you reach the end of your ribcage, then roll it back up towards your shoulder blades.
Check out this link for more ways to use a foam roller!