Ever wondered what those cylindrical pieces of foam at the gym are for? Wondered why we have foam rollers in the pilates gym or consult rooms? Foam rolling is a great way to prevent injury and improve flexibility.
Foam rollers are a great self massage and self management device for relieving muscular tension and improving muscle flexibility. Using your body weight and gravity, foam rollers can be an effective and safe way to apply deep myofascial (muscle and soft tissue) stretch to various areas of the body.
How do I use a foam roller?
It is important to realise that foam rolling can initially be slightly painful or uncomfortable. Try our four top tips on how to use a foam roller.
- Roll slowly and in a controlled fashion to allow muscles time to adapt to compression. Aim to roll the length of the muscle 4 – 5 times over 1 minute.
- Place as much force and body weight as possible through the foam roller (within pain limits)
- Start at the proximal part of the muscle (the part closet to the body) and roll down the length of the muscle.
- Use a foam roller consistently to main muscle flexibility. Try starting with a few minutes each day or immediately following exercise.
In addition to using a foam roller for soft tissue massage, the unstable surface of a foam roller can be a great way to perform a range of challenging core exercises.
Foam rolling exercises at home
Foam rollers are incredibly useful for stretching and mobilising a range of body parts. Try these exercises at home. Whilst foam rolling can cause slight discomfort, remember none of these exercises should cause sharp or localised pain.
A great exercise for stretching out the thoracic spine. This exercise is especially useful for those that may experience upper back pain, neck pain or headaches.
Gluteal flexibility is crucial for a range of conditions including low back pain. Try this exercise at home to improve your gluteal flexibility and mobiility.
A great exercise for improving upper back mobility and core strength. Try placing your feet together to challenge your core strength and balance.
Remember, the foam roller is a versatile tool to improve flexibility and muscle length. Rolling for as little as two minutes a day has been shown to improve range of movement and prevent injury. To learn more about how to use your foam roller today, call us on 9571 6888 or book online.