Foam roller exercises are an excellent way to incorporate self-myofascial release (SMR) into your fitness routine. SMR involves applying pressure to certain areas of the body using a foam roller to release tension and tightness in the muscles and connective tissues.
Here’s a guide to foam roller exercises by Juju Sheikh, founder of Cloud Nine Collective, for a complete body workout, along with how they can help overcome stress and muscle pain:
Foam roller exercises for full body workout:
- Let’s start with your calves. Sit on the floor and place the foam roller under your calves. Roll from your ankles to just below your knees, applying a moderate amount of pressure. Take about 30-60 seconds to do this.
2. Now, let’s move on to your hamstrings. Sit on the foam roller with your legs extended and support yourself with your hands behind you. Roll from your glutes to just above your knees, focusing on any tight spots you come across. Spend about 30-60 seconds on this exercise.
3. Time for the quadriceps. Lie face down with the foam roller under your thighs. Use your arms to support your upper body and roll from your hips to just above your knees. Repeat this motion for about 30-60 seconds.
4. Next up is the IT band. Lie on your side with the foam roller positioned under your outer thigh. Support yourself with your forearm and roll from your hip to just above your knee. Remember to switch sides and spend around 30-60 seconds on each side.
5. Sit on the foam roller with one ankle crossed over the opposite knee. Lean towards the crossed leg and roll back and forth over your glutes. Then, switch sides and repeat for about 30-60 seconds on each side.
6. Lie on your back with the foam roller under your upper back. Place your hands behind your head for support and roll from your upper back to your mid-back. Take about 30-60 seconds to do this exercise.
Exercises to help with Stress and Muscle Pain:
Foam rolling targets the fascia, the connective tissue surrounding your muscles. By applying pressure to the fascia, foam rolling helps release knots and adhesions, improving muscle function and reducing tension that can contribute to stress and pain.
Foam rolling stimulates blood flow to the muscles, promoting faster recovery and helping to alleviate muscle soreness. Improved circulation also helps deliver oxygen and nutrients to the tissues, which is essential for overall muscle health.
The rhythmic rolling movements of foam rolling have a calming effect, on the nervous system, promoting relaxation and reducing stress. It can be a great addition to your stress management routine, helping you unwind after a long day.
Regular foam rolling can enhance your range of motion and flexibility by breaking up scar tissue, adhesions, and knots. This is particularly beneficial for individuals who experience muscle stiffness and limited mobility due to stress or a sedentary lifestyle.
About the author: Qualified personal trainer and Pilates instructor Juju Sheikh has become a thought leader in the fitness and wellness industry for her female-focused, holistic approach to fitness, launching her official fitness app Cloud Nine Collective in 2021. Juju has garnered over 100,000 Instagram followers and works with global brands such as Nike, Adidas, Gymshark, Boots, Amazon, and more.