Ode to Foam Rollers! Why do you need one?

We can push ourselves very hard but stretching is essential to prevent injury. When I got injured last fall and could not run for weeks while training for my first 1/2 marathon, using the foam roller really helped. I had major IT band issues and just the act of running would shoot pain up my right knee. Not pleasant and very frustrating! I had gotten a foam roller with P90X2 and diligent use got me through my injury and able to complete my run. I highly recommend getting one. Here is a links Foam Roller &  RUMBLE Roller-its AWESOME!

A foam roller can give similar benefits to a deep tissue massage (and much cheaper!), and used correctly can help to improve flexibility and decrease muscle tension. It can be useful for treating and preventing running injuries. It does this is two ways: Massage and Monitoring.

1) Massage. It can be used for soft tissue release (controlled rolling over a wide area) or trigger point work (rolling on a specific tender point). I definitely feel it in my IT bands!

2) Monitoring. You can use a foam roller after training as a way of knowing which muscles feel tight. I often spend 5-10 minute before and after a run working on my “trouble” areas.

Overall, I think the following exercises are really helpful!

ITB (Iliotibial Band) Exercise

Why? A tight ITB is commonly associated with the injury “runner’s knee”. The ITB is a band of fibrous material running from the top of the hip to underneath the knee. Any dysfunction can lead to pain at the front and side of the knee.

*This is what caused my knee pain. I got it checked out by an orthopedics to make sure nothing else was wrong, but it came down to doing this exercise daily before I could run again.

 Method
1. Lie on your right side with the roller just under your hip-bone.
2. Straighten your right leg, support yourself using your arms and if needed, the left leg.
3. Roll from the hip down the outer side of your leg to the knee.
4. Repeat on the other side

Calves

Why? Tight calves can be a factor in a number of lower limb injuries, from Achilles problems to shin splints.

Method
1. Sit with the roller under your calf, stacking one foot on top of the other.
2. Support your body weight with your hands and roll the length of the calf; alter the angle of the leg to get to the outside and inside of the muscle

Quadriceps

Why? Tight quads are a common complaint, but a foam roller can help overcome this. It promotes faster recovery, reduces soreness and lowers the risk of associated hip and knee injuries.

Method
1. Lie face down, with the roller under one thigh, support your body weight with your arms.
2. Roll the length of the quad from the hip to the knee.
3. Alter the angle of the leg so the whole muscle is worked.

Hamstrings

Why? These are often one of the hardest for people to stretch themselves. Your hamstrings originate from your ischial tuberosities, and travel down the entire back length of your thighs, to insert on the bones that make up your lower legs (calves). If your hamstrings are tight as you go about your daily activities, they’ll create a downward pull on your pelvis, which can lead to dysfunction of your hip, sacroiliac, and lumbar spinal joints. Around your knees, tight hamstrings can create dysfunction between your knee cap and your thigh bone (femur). Tight hamstrings can also put pressure on your patellar tendon (the tendon below your knee cap that your doctor taps to test your reflexes), which can lead to patellar tendonitis or “jumper’s knee.”

 Method:
1. Sit on the roller with a straight back so the top of the left hamstring touches the top of the roller.
2. Bend your right knee & put your hands on the floor behind you
3. Roll up and down from your knee to just under your left butt cheek.
4. You will feel a stretch in the hamstring while moving in both directions. Stop rolling on tender areas and hold the stretch until any pain subsides
5. Switch legs

Get a foam roller HERE

Keep Moving, Eating Well and trekking towards a Healthier future!

Happy to help you reach YOUR Goals- Free Coaching

This information was originally published in Triathlon Plus magazine and women’s health magazine.

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4 comments… add one
  • I love my foam and rumbler roller!! They are so good to loosen the muscles. A lot of times if I get pain in my heals I will roll my calf and then the pain is gone!!

  • Cool alternative! Thanks for sharing Christina!

  • Lisa B

    I just ordered one, now I can’t wait for it to come!

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