While foam rollers have become a staple in both gyms and homes, they don’t always get used often enough. If your foam roller has been gathering dust under the couch, it’s time to pull it out and try some of the top techniques used to better circulation, hydration and recovery time. And the best part about foam rolling is that it applies to every single muscle group. Here are a few of the go-to muscle-specific moves, recommended by both doctors and fitness pros.
Calves. Made up of the soleus and gastrocnemius muscles, the calves are used regularly which means that they are tight when we aren’t even privy to it. The problem with this is that tight calves lead to limited ankle mobility which can hinder your movement, and lead to ankle and Achilles tendon injuries. Place the foam roller under your calves and sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Slowly roll along the back of your legs from your ankles to your knees while keeping your hands on the floor behind you to support your weight. The best time to do this technique is right when you get out of bed, when your ankles are stiff. This will allow the blood to get moving efficiently so you can face your day injury-free.
Back. Pain in the lower and upper back is one of the most common complaints amongst men and women of all ages. Foam rolling can provide immediate relief and place you on the road to recovery after an injury. Start by placing the foam roller under your lower back while sitting on the floor. Keep your abs tight as you bend your knees and slowly move the roller from your lower back, up to the area just beneath your shoulder blades. The best time to do this exercise is after a long day of sitting, as the self-massage will relieve the stiffness and soreness associated with sitting all day.
Quadriceps. The quad muscles are made up of a dense group of muscles that connect and attach at the knee. This muscle group, located at the front of the leg, takes the brunt of several different exercises and often gets tighter than necessary due to a lack of stretching. Because these muscles are so dense, they get extra tight, which is where foam rolling comes in. Place the foam roller under your hips and lie face down on the floor, on top of it. Alternate legs and roll up and down from your hip to your knee. This will better your hip mobility and relieve the tension in the quad muscles.
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