Monday, July 21, 2014

Foam Rolling

I've gotten quite a few questions on foam rolling, so I thought I would do a post dedicated to it.

Source

I try to do this every evening before going to bed, but foam rolling is great to do pre-run, post-run, or just as a way to unwind from your day. Figure out what works best for you and DO IT!

I originally was going to do more of a vlog (video blog), but got pretty nervous in front of the camera, so decided it would probably be best for me to do it WITHOUT talking. I will describe what I am doing and then post the video below the description so you can see what I mean.


**FYI - I AM NOT A TRAINED PROFESSIONAL. PLEASE DO NOT TAKE THIS AS MEDICAL ADVICE. I AM ONLY DESCRIBING WHAT HAS WORKED FOR ME IN THE PAST.**

IT Band

The reason I originally started rolling was because my IT Band was acting up (the fibrous band that runs from your hip area to your knee area). This tends to be a nagging area for a lot of runners, so definitely a great place to start.

Lie on your side. Begin by placing the foam roller slightly below your hip (you NEVER want to roll over the bone). Roll between the knee and hip area, taking extra time on any tender parts. If your legs are longer, you can break up this area in 2-3 sections (for example from the knee to the mid-quad and then from the mid-quad to the hip area). For a deeper muscle massage you can stack your legs on-top of one another. If stacking your legs is too painful, you can relieve some of the pressure by placing your top foot on the ground in front of your rolling leg. Do this for approximately 1-2 minutes and then switch sides.






Quads

Begin by facing downward in the floor with both thighs on the roller and forearms propping you off the ground (similar to a forearm plank). Roll between the knee and pelvis area, taking extra time on any tender parts. If your legs are longer, you can break up this area in 2-3 sections (for example from the knee to the mid-quad and then from the mid-quad to the pelvis area). I will do this with my toes pointed straight, then point my toes outward, and then point my toes inward (that way I am able to get all of the portions of the quads). Do this for approximately 1-2 minutes.



Calves

Sit with your legs out in front of you, with the roller under your calves. You will need to push yourself off of the ground with your arms (depending on your arm strength this may be one of the more difficult muscle groups to roll). Roll between the knee and ankle area, taking extra time on any tender parts. If your legs are longer, you can break up this area in 2-3 sections (for example from the knee to the mid-calf and then from the mid-calf to the ankle area). For a deeper muscle massage you can cross your legs on-top of one another. If stacking your legs is too painful, you can relieve some of the pressure by keeping both legs on the roller. Do this for approximately 1-2 minutes.





**I have found that sometimes (depending on how often I roll or how difficult my workouts are) I am unable to get a deep enough roll on my calves (it is like I cannot get enough weight over them to get a good massage), so I will often use The Stick to work out the muscles in my calves.




Back

Lying on your back with your knees bent and the roller under your lower back, cross your arms (sort of like you are giving yourself a big HUG for being so awesome). Tighten your core and raise your hips off the ground. Roll below your neck to your glutes, taking extra time on any tender parts. Do this for approximately 1-2 minutes.



**I have noticed that my M80 Roller is a little too hard on my back, so I use my Trigger Point GRID Foam Roller roller for these muscles.

Shins

Start on your hands and knees with the roller on your shins (just under your knees). Keep your planted hands still while rolling your knees towards your hands, bringing the roller almost to your ankles. Roll between the knee and ankle area, taking extra time on any tender parts. If your legs are longer, you can break up this area in 2-3 sections (for example from the knee to the mid-shin and then from the mid-shin to the ankle area). Do this for approximately 1-2 minutes.



Arches

Although this isn't with a foam roller, I normally do this at the same time so thought I'd throw it in this post as well. You can use a tennis ball, golf ball, water bottle, soup can, etc (I have found that a golf ball is my favorite... and if you put it in the freezer for a bit it is AMAZING). All you do is roll the item under the arch of your foot for approximately 1-2 minutes. This is a great massage for the bottom of your tired or sore feet (and an easy way to release tension and pain from your feet).



There are definitely more areas you can foam roll, these are just the main ones I tend to focus on. Due to my nervousness in front of the camera I totally forgot to film my glutes, so I guess those will have to wait for a future post.

A QUICK WORD OF WARNING: The more foam rolling hurts, the more you need to do it (that is often why you will hear runners say they have a love/hate relationship with their roller). I know, it can be painful, it might not be fun, but it can be great for you! It offers muscle tension relief, can correct muscle imbalance, increases your range of motion, assists in injury prevention, and is MUCH cheaper than a personal masseuse.

Tools of the Trade


M80 Roller (This is the firmest {and dare I say my favorite} of my rollers, which I have found gives me the deepest massage. It is also a great travel size, not to mention all the fun color combos it comes in! You can check out my review here.)
Trigger Point GRID Foam Roller (This was my first "good" roller. The different designed foam zones are made to replicate the feeling of an actual massage therapist's hands. The extra foam is extremely helpful if it has been a few days between rolling or if I have a very tender area.)
The Stick (This is great for my calves, as well as knots I find in my quads that I want to really dig into. I have the Sprinter Stick which is one of their firmest options. As you can tell, the firmer {for me} the better, but that can also be the more painful option.)
Golf Ball (This is just a golf ball I grabbed out of my hubby's golf bag... Nothing too special ;) )

PLEASE NOTE:  You do not need multiple rollers or options to get a good massage. I started with the Trigger Point GRID Foam Roller and then was offered an M80 Roller to review and quickly realized the differences. You can always try foam rollers out a running store (if yours has a roller section), a sporting goods shop, or a race expo to see what works best for you and what type your body most prefers.

PS Even if you aren't a runner, your body can definitely benefit from a foam roller!

Are there any major muscles that I left out? Any questions on any of the techniques I am using?

6 comments:

The Silent Assassin said...

Ummm...it's not an a "nothing too special" golf ball if its a Titleist Pro-V1. If its one of those balls, don't tell your hubby =). I like that the first video rolls into the rest of your other vids...professional skiier you =).

Sarah @RunFarGirl said...

Such a helpful post! And love the Embrace the Hill love! And your capris are awesome!

Lyndsay Marvin said...

Such a great post girl! I love & hate foam rolling hahah. I need it on my calves soo badly because they're always super tight! PS your leggings are SO cute!

Kyle Kranz said...

Nice post, but I'm going to be a Negative Nancy here with my $.02 ;)

I'm not convinced chronic & rolling for the simple sake of rolling is terribly helpful. I used to be one who rolled daily for 10-20 minutes but have since stopped rolling all together. (I also did the same for static stretching about 4 years ago) It's been months (maybe a year) since I've regularly rolled and I've not noticed anything negative. Plus I have 10-20 minutes more of time during the day ;)

I couple interesting reads:
http://buff.ly/WI6IxE
&
http://buff.ly/WI6IOg

If your calves are always super tight it's not because you're not foam rolling everyday. It's probably because you're overstressing them and not letting them recover because of your running form (landing too far forward) or a recent track workout that fatigued them.

Heather said...

Thanks so much for posting this! I needed some more instruction in use, and this is very helpful!

Carlee Padot McClurg said...

YAY! I'm so glad you ladies (Heather, Lyndsey and Sarah) found this helpful!

PS The capris are from Marshalls. I originally bought them for a 80s run, but LOVE me some bangin' colors and end up wearing them all the time ;)