By Rachel Hirsch, Co-Founder, Empowered Yoga
Foam rolling is a technique to release muscle tension, soreness, even inflammation. It is sometimes known as self-myofascial release (SMR). Foam rolling is a great tool to soothe your muscles and break up the tension in the body. Overtime it can also assist with increasing your range of motion by relaxing and lengthening your fascia.
If you’re just getting started with foam rolling, especially when your muscles are tight, it can be intense and quite a bit of sensation. “I recommend starting with light pressure and adding more pressure overtime. You can add more pressure but increasing the amount of weight you are pressing into the muscle being worked. For example, when I am rolling my glute, I have my hands on the ground to remove some weight from my glutes. If I wanted to increase pressure I would lessen the amount of weight in my hands.” says Rachel Hirsch, whofirst fell in love with yoga during university in Austin, Texas and has been exploring her practice ever since.
Shesuggests rolling each area for about 30 seconds to begin. Overtime you may do it for longer, or when an area is particularly tender you may want to roll it for up to two minutes.
Foam Roller Exercies
1- Feet (Tibialis posterior) – Stand tall and place the foam roller under one foot. Roll the foot forward and back to feel the tension release under your feet. If you’d like to add more pressure, stand next to a wall for balance, stand on the roller with your full weight as you roll the foller forward and back with your foot.
2- Calves (gastrocnemius and the soleus) – Sit on your bum and place the roller under your calf. Place your hands behind your back so you can prop yourself up and shift your weight towards the roller. Move your calf to move the foam roller up and down your calf.
3- Hamstrings (semimembranosus, semitendinosus, and biceps femoris) – Sit on your bum and place the roller under your thigh. Place your hands behind your back so you can prop yourself up and shift your weight towards the roller. Move your weight and leg to move the foam roller up and down your hamstring.
4-Glutes (maximus, medius, and minimus) – Sit on your bum, cross your right ankle over your left thigh into a figure four shape. Place the roller under your bum. Place your hands behind your back so you can prop yourself up and shift your weight side to side as you massage out your bum and the sides of your bum.
5- Shoulder blades (trapezius) – Lie on you back and put the roller horizontally at your shoulder blades. Gently move the body forward and back to massage out the trapezius.
Instead of literally rolling around on the foam roller, the ideal way to use a foam roller is to roll on the muscle until you feel a tender spot (it will feel like a bruise) then you stay on that spot for 20-30 seconds. This is breaking up the adhesions or trigger points in your muscle. Spend approximately 5 minutes finding tender spots and working them out.
Remember to drink extra water after foam rolling to help the muscles recover fully.
The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.