A question we often get from customers in the store is "How do I use a foam roller?" Or we have customers who have never even heard of a foam roller! Luckily for these folks, we love to get down on the yoga mat and demonstrate our moves.
Here at Fleet Feet, we carry Trigger Point's The Grid foam roller. Unlike traditional foam rollers, it's hollow in the middle, which makes it more durable (it won't smoosh down over time.) And the grid tread pattern mimics the hand in a deep tissue massage. Plus, it's great for traveling because you can stuff clothes down inside it and still fit it in your carry-on suitcase.
Foam rolling is especially important for active people because it loosens tight muscles and helps in the recovery process. Working out trigger points (or knots) in the muscles reestablishes proper movement patterns and restores pain-free movement, ultimately enhancing performance. Tight muscles can also lead to injuries! So it's important to remember to stretch and foam roll after workouts.
So that leads us to the big question...how do I use it? Today our staff demonstrated some of their favorite ways to roll:
Camille is showing one way you can roll out your calf muscles with The Grid foam roller. By stacking your ankles, you apply more pressure between the calf and the roller for a deeper massage. Remember to rotate your calf from side to side so you get the muscle from all angles.
To roll your hamstrings, lift yourself off the floor to place all your body weight on the roller. Make sure you're making smooth passes from the back of your knee to the top of your leg. If you find a knot, make small rolls back and forth over just that section to work it out.
Katie is a pro at IT Band rolling because she does it so often! It requires a little more maneuvering, but can easily be done. The IT band runs on the outside of your leg from the hip to the knee. To target this area, lay on your side using your forearm to support your upper body and cross your other leg over the leg that you're rolling. Make sure you don't forget the top of the IT band near your hip.
Melissa doesn't even work at Fleet Feet, but she still loves to roll her glutes. In the basic sense, you just sit on the roller and use your tush to roll back and forth until you find a knot. Melissa prefers to cross one leg over the other for a deeper more targeted massage.
If you have tight quads, you may be making faces like Chris' when you start to roll. But fear not! The roller will loosen those tight muscles. To target the quads, lay face down and place the roller under your upper leg. Use your arms to stabilize your upper body as you roll up and down on the roller.
No, Camille is not just relaxing on the floor, she actually rolling her back. Place the foam roller under your back to roll your upper and lower back this way. You can use your hands under your head to help stabilize your neck. You can also try placing the roller vertically (along your spine) to get a nice chest stretch.
For more information on foam rolling, here is a great article!