Foam Rolling Basics for Primed Muscles and Better Recovery

Mar 19, 2017 | Fitness

Foam rolling demonstrated by Bill Daniels, Elite Personal Trainer at Renaissance ClubSport Walnut Creek.

You reach into your closet and grab your favorite shirt — but there’s a problem. It’s wrinkled. In fact, it’s so wrinkled it fits short. You tug at it as a quick fix but to no avail. You finally reach for the iron and, five minutes later, your shirt is wrinkle-free and ready for the day ahead.

Your muscles are a lot like your shirt — you need to iron out the wrinkles so that they’re always in prime shape. These “muscular wrinkles,” typically known as knots, are actually irritated or inflamed muscle tissue resulting from overuse, lack of use, dysfunctional movements, or direct injury. Left untreated, knots can reduce the elasticity of your muscles and lead to altered muscular control and muscle imbalance. To restore your muscles to their optimal state, grab a foam roller and follow this guide. Roll before your next workout to ensure that muscles are loose and ready to be worked or after to help with recovery.

Calves

Roll five times on the outer, middle, and inner parts of the calf. Hold and press into any knots for 30-90 seconds.

Hamstrings

Roll five times on the outer, middle, and inner parts of the hamstrings. Hold and press into any knots for 30-90 seconds.

Glutes / Piriformis

Roll five times over the middle and outer part of the glute. Then, bend the leg that you are on and place your foot over your knee to work the commonly tight piriformis, a flat, band-like muscle near the top of the hip joint. Hold and press into any knots for 30-90 seconds.

Mid Back / Thoracic / Rhomboids

Keep your hands on your head and your elbows pulled together to separate the shoulder blades. Go from the bottom of your ribs — being careful to avoid the kidneys — and slowly work all the way up to the top of the shoulder blades. Hold and press into any knots for 30-90 seconds.

Quadriceps / IT Band

Being careful to avoid the bony parts of the knee and hip joints, roll five times on the inner, middle, and outer parts of the quads. Proceed to the outside to roll the IT band. Hold and press into any knots for 30-90 seconds.

Rotator Cuffs / Lats

Start on your side with your hands behind your head and the foam roller placed in the back crevice of your armpit. Rock forward and back five times to work through the rotator cuff, then roll up and down five times to hit the lats. Hold and press into any knots for 30-90 seconds.

Pecs

Lay on your stomach and place the foam roller at a 45-degree angle into your pec. Slowly reach the arm forward and back five times to allow the pec to roll over the foam roller. Hold and press into any knots for 30-90 seconds.

Scapula

Lay the foam roller lengthwise down the middle of your back and rest your head on the end of the roller. Let your arms hang out to the side and keep your forearms parallel with each other. Slowly slide your arms forward over your head and then back five times. Hold and press into any knots for 30-90 seconds.

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