How-to Use a Foam Roller + a Quick Routine

One of the tips I like to share with my clients in between massages is to use a foam roller.

Remember: with a foam roller you focus on slowly rolling soft tissue (muscles, fascia, fat, connective tissue etc.), not bones or joints and don’t stay on a tender spot for too long.

Here are the top 5 exercises to do on the roller PRE and POST workout to get the most out of your training from Urban Kick.

1. Quadriceps

  • Start with both legs on the roller and your elbows on the floor.
  • Start slowly rolling up and down the muscle tissue, using your arms to stabilize and roll yourself up and down the roller. If you locate a spot that is tender don’t antagonize it by staying for too long.
  • Take a deep breath and allow your muscle to relax into the roller, then continue rolling up and down.

2. TFL/Lateral Quad

  • Your Tensor Fascia Latae is a small muscle near outer hip and one main duty is to stabilize the hip and pelvis.
  • You will need to position to foam roller to the outside of the hip, so rolling one leg at a time may be easier.
  • Start with rolling at the top of the hip then roll to the lateral (outside) part of your quadriceps complex and position roller up towards your hip and roll down towards the knee.

3. Gluteus Medius/Maximus

  • You can sit on the roller and cross one leg over the other. Roll to the gluteus medius of the leg that is cross on top.
  • Remember to roll soft tissue and gently roll up and down the muscle(s).

4. Calves (Gastrocnemius & Soleus)

  • You can start with both legs on the roller or cross one on top. You can use your hands to gently lift your hips off the floor and roll up and down your calf muscle.
  • You can also keep your hips on the floor and position to roller just below your gastrocnemius, on your soleus and do ankle circles to the right and left.

5. Upper Back (Between your Scapula)

  • Start with making sure your head and neck are supported with your hands and position the roller in the middle of your back, making sure to not roll towards your lower ribs.
  • Lift your hips off the floor and use your feet to roll your body up and down the roller, gently rolling from mid back to the your upper back between your scapula (shoulder blades).

6. Snow Angels (Pectoralis Major/Minor and Anterior Deltoid)

  • Sit on the very end of the roller and roll down so you have placed the roller along your spine. Make sure your head is resting on the roller.
  • Bend your knees so your feet are stable on the floor to help you balance. Open your arms up to a T position with your palms facing up to the ceiling.
  • Start to reach your arms overhead and then down towards your hips in a slow, sweeping motion.

7. What? No Iliotibial Band?

  • Your IT band attaches at your hip and down at your knee and the IT’s main duty is to stabilize the knee. Rolling the IT band can be very uncomfortable, and rolling it may not yield many results. The IT band is a pretty thick and strong band of connective tissue and may not be released by techniques such as foam rolling.
  • Start with one leg and focus on foam rolling other muscles surrounding the IT such as the TFL and your Gluteus Medius first.
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