Foam Rolling 101

Foam Rolling 101

Hi Guys and happy hump day! I wanted to get a quick post up about Foam Rolling and some specific techniques that you can use to help ease sore muscles, release tension and combat sitting all day!

Foam Rolling is a form of self myofascial release. It is a super important and effective way to keep muscle tissue healthy, happy and ready to work at a moments notice. We have all felt those “knots” in our upper back and neck. By using this trigger point therapy and applying mild pressure to these areas by use of the foam roller, we can effectively release these points of tension which helps with recovery and allowing for those muscles to return to assisting the body in their normal functions.

Whether it is from exercise, the way that we sit, stand or carry things, or from the tension of everyday stress, our bodies are tested every day. I think that many of us can agree that at one point or another we feel the effects of these stressors on our bodies. When our body is stressed, the fascia (think casing around a sausage) gets “bunched up”, like Saran Wrap, and causes these specific knots. These knots have the ability to produce or radiate pain in our body. Ouch!

These little bunched up knots also inhibit our body from functioning efficiently and the way that it is intended. I have so many clients that experience knee pain and the source of the issue is actually the IT Band (Illiotibial Band) that runs between the hip and knee. By using the foam roller to “roll out” this tract, most find places of tender, almost nauseating , tissue. By applying gentle pressure with the foam roller, we are able to create a myofascial release and allow those little knots to dissipate!

So like I said, whether you are exercising regularly, sitting at a desk job all day, running around chasing kids, or breastfeeding…you should absolutely be implementing this into your routine. I find the most people, myself included, like to skip this little bit of self care, but it is suppppper important. Just as important as the actual workout! Seriously.

Yeah, stretching is great and all, but there have actually been many studies on the actual effectiveness of it. Myofascial release on the other hand, aids in recovery time, establishes proper and pain free movement patterns and allows for your body to operate at max performance!

So here are a few of my favorites that I always make time for. Even if it’s a couple times a week, just for a few moments.

The first is important for EVERYONE! It helps open up the chest, shoulder, lungs, diaphragm…alllll the good stuff. If you find yourself chained to a desk all day, rounded forward, driving around town, hunched over breastfeeding – do it. It’s also just a great way to decompress at the end of the day, focus on your deep belly breathing and “let go”.

Place the foam roller vertically along your spine and make sure that your head and hips are supported. Let your arms fall out to the side – option to take them into goal post configuration. Hold here and just breath. Focus on taking deep breaths into your belly, allowing tension to release. Then you can slowly start to rock side to side, isync with your breath, activating the parasympathetic nervous system.

From a goal post position, take the arms overhead and then through heart center. Repeat 10 times. Inhaling arms overhead, exhale through the heart.

Next, is one of my favorites. It hits the IT band and it HURTS SO GOOD. Again for someone who sits a lot and has tights hips or for all my runners out there – this is for you. If you are experiencing low back, hip, knee, ankle or foot pain – this is for you! A lot of those pains stem from IT Band Syndrome (ITBS).

Lay side ways on the foam roller and place your top leg over top, so that you can use it to propel you along. Start up at the hip, even rocking into the glute and roll in 5 inch segments. When you find those little “knots” or tender spots – hold for 5-10 seconds and breath. These releases should not be PAINFUL per say, but you will feel discomfort. A good rule of thumb for pressure is maintaining the ability to breath comfortably and fully. Make your way all along the IT Band towards the knee, being mindful not to roll on the knee cap or behind the knee.

And then another one of my favs, especially since I like to work those glutes, is one that gets nice and deep into those butt muscles.

Sit on Foam Roller and bring your left ankle to your right thigh (seated pigeon pose, if you will). From here you can start to roll onto your left glute (or whichever cheek has the leg up) and start to hit every part of those glutes. By lifting the leg, you’re able to expose the periformis muscle, which sits below our glute max and med and is the little pest that is responsible for sciatica, low back and hip pain. If a muscle is “tight” or knotted up – it is weak. It is unable to perform how it is intended, so this puts more stress and strain on other parts of our body – back, hips, knees, ankle, feet, etc. So if the muscles that make up the glutes are “turned off”, weak or tight – they aren’t doing their job to support and move the body. This means PAIN!

Lastly, one to hit the front of the body. “Tight” quads and hip flexors are also a source of low back, hip and knee pain. Again, starting near the hips take your time, working in small segments. Find those little tender spots and BREATH. Rock back and forth, side to side and allow knot to release. Remember, this may take a few times or sessions. Be mindful not to roll over the knee cap.

I hope y’all have a wonderful week and can find ways to start working this into your self care routine! It’s a great way to maintain healthy tissue, obtain pain free movement and kick butt in your workouts! Happy rolling!

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