As a massage therapist in North Vancouver, I naturally end up working with many weekend warriors and athletes who love taking advantage of the amazing outdoor activities our environment has to offer…and foam rolling is a great way to self massage those active bodies.
When you foam roll you are giving yourself a type of myofascial release which helps alleviate tension and adhesions in the connective tissue that runs through and around muscle tissue. Here are a few great ways to use the foam roller:
The quadriceps are a great place to start! Lying face down with the foam roller at your hip bones and legs apart, roll back and forth about 1/3rd of the foam rollers circumference a few times until the area feels lengthened… keep moving down your leg in small sections searching for ‘the spots’ until you reach your knee, then roll right back to start…repeat with your toes pointed in then out to get at more of this great big beautiful muscle.
The iliotibial band is a must after your quad roll. It runs along the side of the lateral quads. By working this area you can help prevent knee injury and pain as well as improve your gait.
Lying on your side start between the top of your hip bone and the thigh bone, place your hands on the floor beneath your chest for support, cross your top leg over the bottom leg, keep it bent and place your foot on the floor…a yummy area, yes! Roll back and forth in this small area and roll your body back and forth until you are ready to move down the leg into the IT band. It isn’t quite as effective as your massage therapists forearm, elbow or strong hands but it helps…..now roll down in segments using your arms to guide the pressure and roll until you reach your lateral knee, then roll back up to the hip.
Your massage therapist may have told you that the glutes can be the source of all kinds of hip, lower back and thigh pain. Working this exercise is especially important for runners, cyclists and HOCKEY players…especially Senior Men’s hockey players because you didn’t pay enough attention to them during your early hockey days.
Sit on the foam roller with one hip, place your hands on the floor behind you, roll back and forth, pushing on those sore yummy areas…repeat on the other side.
Rolling the calves helps with ankle flexibility, balance, and deeper squats to name a few.Using your hands for support, place your calves on top of the roller, one ankle crossed over the other. Roll by walking your hands back and forth, using the same techniques as described earlier. Play with the different areas by pointing and flexing your worked foot as well as turning your toes in and out.
Now for your back…foam roll your thoracic spine and enjoy the relaxed sensation throughout this area. Position yourself as if you are going to do a curl up with the roller just between your shoulder blades. Support your head with your hands, your neck muscles should be relaxed. Think of draping your back over the roller, slightly arching as you move.
There are two places that you should never place the roller….
- Do not sit on your tail bone, not a great adjustment.
- Keep it out of your waist…you have floating ribs there that also don’t need an adjustment.
Thank you Mary for posing after….800 meter run, 8 rope climbs, 800 meter run, 8 rope climbs, 800 meter run!
Author: Kim Kirk on Google+