They may look like pool noodles, but don’t be fooled – foam rollers are useful tools showing up in more gyms, pilates and yoga studios. It’s one of the most valuable, versatile, and inexpensive piece of fitness equipment out there! They can used to stretch tight muscles, prevent injury, and improve flexibility. After a workout, muscles can get tight. The more you stretch your muscles, the more you’ll be able to move. So get your foam roller and try these tips and exercises!
There are different types of foam rollers. They can come in different densities with high density rollers being more expensive. They come in 4-inch and 6-inch diameter—the smaller the diameter, the more intense the focused pressure. They can be used to boost circulation, release tension, and improve mobility by rolling over tight spots like hips and legs. If you hit a tight spot, roll directly over it for 30 to 60 seconds to work out the knot. Just be careful not not roll over bony areas. And if you feel any sharp pain – STOP!
It can also be used to replace a BOSU trainer or stability ball in balance and core exercises due to it’s curved, unstable surface. Women’s Health even says, ” [The] roller can even be used to mimic some of the same moves done on the Pilates Reformer to tone and stretch muscles and improve posture, giving you that long, lean look.”
Foam Roller Exercises
1. Balancing Lunge
In a split stance, place your back foot on top of the roller. Bend your front knee and extend your back leg out straight as you lower into a lunge, sliding your shin over top of the roller. Slowly rise up out of the lunge, drawing the roller in towards you as you stand.
2. Single-Leg Hip Raise with Foot on a Foam Roller
Lie face-up on the floor with your left knee bent and your left foot on a foam roller. Raise your right leg until it’s in line with your left thigh. Push your hips upward, keeping your right leg elevated. Pause, then slowly lower your body and leg back to the starting position. Complete the prescribed number of repetitions with your left leg, then switch legs and do the same number with your right leg.
3. Marching Crunches
Lie on the roller (it should line the length of your spine), with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Clasp your hands behind your head, elbows out. Lift your head and shoulders off the roller, and slowly try to lift your right foot slightly off the floor. Step it back down and switch to the left. Continue marching your feet, alternating legs each time, for a total of 10 reps.
Get your own foam roller here at Rock Bottom Fitness!