How To Foam Roll

Did you know that owning a foam roller is like owning your own unicorn? Magical and life changing! 

We created an easy foam rolling routine - you can thank us later! And, in case you need a little more convincing to incorporate foam rolling into your training we’ve provided some fast fact cliff notes for ya here:

Foam rolling can help produce similar effects of massage therapy (for a fraction of the cost we might add).  It can help increase circulation and blood flow in your body and aid in the muscle recovery process. It can help with posture and breaking up scar tissue. It can help promote relaxation, prevent muscle injury, and even help alleviate stress (physically and emotionally). Oh, and let us not forget to mention that foam rolling can be a great warm up or cool down tool pre or post run. This routine is perfect for both and hits your entire body. See, foam roller = unicorn! Don’t knock it until you try it...

FOAM ROLLING ROUTINE

Foam roll each zone for 20-30 seconds. 

Tender spots? Tightness?  Do a static hold on those areas for at least 10 seconds (one-one thousand...two-one thousand) until you find some relief or release.

ZONE: IT Band

Almost every runner has a story (nightmare)  to share about their IT band(s). You know, the connective tissue attaches from your hip bone and runs down the outside of your leg to your tibia. While your IT band cannot be “stretched out” you can still foam roll your IT (band).

Lay on your side with the roller placed slightly under your hip and plant your forearm (or hand) on the ground for support and gently raise up into a side plank position.  Roll down from your hip to your knee. Repeat on the other side.  Bonus: you can stack your legs for extra pressure.

ZONE: Quadriceps

Oh my quad! Our quads are one the most used muscles in the body; it only makes sense to give them a little more TLC by foam rolling them!

Start in a plank position (hands stacked under shoulders or on your elbows) and place the foam roller above the knee of the quad you are foam rolling. Slowly move the foam roller up your leg. Repeat on the opposite side. 

ZONE: Hamstrings

As runners, it is not uncommon to ignore the back of our legs since we are always looking ahead and watching where our feet are going next! Which is why this part of our legs need a lot of attention. (Sorry Hammys).

Start by sitting with your legs straight out in front of you, “sitting on the foam roller” just above the back of your knees. Raise your hips by pushing up on your palms. Roll towards your booty. You can do both legs at the same time or separately. 

ZONE: Calf

Place the roller slightly above the backside of your ankle and slowly roll toward your knee. Do not continue up your entire leg. 

ZONE: Glutes and Hips

We rely on our hips and glutes for stabilization when we move. Rolling the glutes and hips pre-run will help turn on these muscles and increase engagement on your run. 

To roll this area sit on the roller in a figure four position (don’t know what that is, cross your legs to look like the number 4) with your right ankle crossed over the left thigh. Lean toward the  left side of the foam roller and roll back and forth over your butt cheek . Switch legs and repeat on the other side leaning toward the right side of the foam roller.

ZONE: Chest

Foam rolling your chest, while sounding odd, will definitely leave you feeling very open and happy post-roll.  

Place the roller at a 45-degree angle near the top of your shoulder and lay on top of it. Apply pressure by letting your body lean completely into the foam roller and move your body slowly in a back and forth motion. 

ZONE: Upper Back 

One of our favs! Foam rolling your upper back restores function and circulation to your entire spine, it also releases tension in your traps and can give you more mobility.

Sit down and place the roller length wise behind you. Rest your head in the palms of your hands and roll from your neck down past your shoulder blades slowly. After 30-seconds of rolling, hold midway at your shoulder blades and rotate side to side. 

If you are really tight in the back, lay on your side with the roller where a bra strap would be just under your chest. Hold here for 20 seconds until you feel the release. 

Don’t have a foam roller? We love the ones from Trigger Point.

Source for blog post: Complete Guide to Foam Rolling by Kyle Stull. 

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