A foam roller is a fantastic tool every runner should invest in. It works by applying pressure to certain body parts and trigger points (areas of increased tension), which increases blood flow to the area, helping to relieve pain soreness and muscular tension. A foam roller allows you to release your myofascia (sheath surrounding your muscles) without the help of a therapist, allowing your muscles to move without inhibition making them more efficient. And when rolling out on a foam roller is combined with static stretching, studies have shown that you will also improve your flexibility
By Pamela Mazzuca HBSc. Kin, Athletic Therapist
When using a foam roller you should roll over each area for 30-60 seconds, holding it on areas of increased discomfort for 10 seconds at a time. Using a foam roller is uncomfortable but it shouldn’t cause intolerable amounts of pain. If you experience pain, lighten the amount of pressure you are using. Here are five areas that every runner should stretch using a foam roller to improve performance and decrease risk of injury. Note: Light bruising may occur over trigger points the next day.
Lying on your stomach place the foam roller under your right thigh. With your forearms on the ground, rest your left ankle on top of your right ankle and lift your hips off the ground. Slowly roll up and down from the bottom of your hip to just above your kneecap. Repeat on the other side.
Lying on your stomach place the foam roller under your hips. With your forearms on the ground, lift your hips off the ground and shift your weight over your right hip. Slowly roll up and down over your hips. Repeat on the other side.
Lie on your right side with the foam roller under your right outer thigh just below your hipbone. With your right leg straight, and your left foot on the ground in front of your right leg place your right hand on the floor for balance. Slowly roll up and down the outer thigh from just below your hipbone to just above your knee. Repeat on the other side.
Sitting on the foam roller, rest your right ankle on your left thigh and place your hands on the ground behind you for support. Shift your weight onto your right glute and roll up and down over your right glute. Repeat on the other side.
Sitting on the ground, place the foam roller under your right thigh just below your hipbone. While keeping your right leg straight and your right foot off the ground, rest your left ankle on top of your right ankle and place your hands on the ground behind you. Supporting your weight on your hands, roll up and down from the bottom of your hipbone to just above your knee. Repeat on the other side.
Five Features to Look for in a Foam Roller
- 6-inches in diameter
- Raised areas for extra pressure
- One to three feet long
- Hollow – makes it easier to travel with
- Comes with trigger point massage ball – the ball help release deeper trigger points