If you want to be creative in your fitness routines, you can use a foam roller to spice things up a notch higher. Foam rollers are quite affordable and they are very versatile pieces of fitness equipment. They can help you with everything from working out your muscle knots to sculpting your abs faster. In fact, if you’re not using one, you are missing out on tons of benefits that those who use a foam roller are getting.
Using a foam roller works in different parts of the body and this guide will show you the different body parts you can target when you use a foam roller and we will explain what they do.
Ways to Use a Foam Roller
Here are some of the easiest ways that you can use a foam roller and start incorporating it into your routines.
Massaging Your Muscles
You can use a foam roller to massage your muscles. This is also called self-myofascial relief. It’s an immensely more affordable way to get a deep tissue massage. You do this by slowly rolling over various areas of your body. It will break up the adhesions as well as scar tissues and speed up your healing and recovery process each time after working out. Use the foam roller to loosen up common areas of your body that are experiencing tightness like your outer thighs, quads, and upper back.
To do this, position yourself on top of the foam roller and slowly roll back and forth using the weight of your body over it. It will look like you are using a rolling pin over some dough, except it’s your body instead of your hands holding the pin. Try to avoid using your arms for support. You should let your body weight relax over the foam roller.
Another way that you can use a foam roller is by giving yourself some self-acupressure. A foam roller works by using your body’s natural response to pressure. As the roll goes over your tight spots or trigger points, your muscle gets a chance to relax. Some especially tight spots would require constant pressure as opposed to rolling back and forth.
If you have some knots in your upper back, you can place the foam roller under your shoulder blades then cross your arms over your chest. After that, lift your hips up from the floor and use your weight to put some pressure on your tight areas. Hold your position for up to 60 seconds.
To relieve tension in the neck area, you can lie on your back while the roll is under your neck. Let your head rest on top of it so you can feel the gentle pressure on your neck. Slowly, you can turn your head to one side then you can aim your chin to your shoulder. You should hold it uup to a minute.
Planks and Pushups
You can perk up your planks and pushups when you use a foam roller with them. Doing workouts on unstable surfaces allows you to engage more core muscles and make total-body exercises a lot more exciting.
On top of the roller, put one or both of your hands and do a full plank or pushup. You can also slide your foam roller under your toes when you do your plank or pushup instead of putting your hands over it. It will force your body to exert more effort for it to stabilize. If you want it to be a little easier, you can start by using only half of the foam roller with a flat bottom until you are able to do the full version.
Use a foam roller as a yoga prop to help relieve some pressure. If your back hurts during your Sava Sana pose, you can slip a roller under your knees and it will relieve the pressure.
You can also use a shorter foam roller to help you hold your extended triangle pose longer. It will help your balance during the pose. Those are just some of the ways you can use a foam roller during yoga. There are a variety of different ways you can use it for yoga poses and postures. It will help you balance and release your muscles more easily.
Strengthen Your Core
A foam roller can help strengthen your core. You can use a foam roller to take your abs workout to the next level. It will force your core to work harder.
Try lying on the roller, making sure that it’s aligned to the length of your spine with your knees bent. Place both your feet flat on the floor. Put your hands behind your head and clasp them together with your elbows out. From here, you need to lift your head and shoulders up from the roller then slowly lift your right foot off the floor. Switch to your left foot and continue stepping or marching by alternating each leg. Do a total of 10 repetitions.
During your stretching, you can use a foam roller to extend your stretches. A foam roller is soft and gentle so it’s a perfect prop for stretching. It will increase your range of motion in a hamstring stretch. Do this by propping your foot up on the foam roller and do the same with your arm which will help deepen the stretch for your lats.
Add a foam roller to give you extra support in certain poses like the hip flexor stretch. When you lunge forward for the stretch, slide the roller under the front of your other leg then sink your hip down to the floor.
You can use a foam roller the way you would some training tools like boards and discs to build your balance. Use it for a variety of balance drills and exercises. The roller has a cylindrical shape and you can take advantage of its shape for exercises like the rolling lunge.
Here are a few foam rollers that you can use for your routines.