People often ask me what is my favorite piece of exercise equipment. I have so many that I love but I do have my ultimate favorite. If I leave town, it comes with me. I have four different varieties of it, and I use it with all my clients each week. Ready? It is my Foam Roller!
I know it does not sound all that exciting, and those who have tried it, think I am crazy, but it is by far the one thing I need to have. I have been using it for over 10 years now. I began using it during physical therapy for a running injury. Since then I have used it for Pilates exercises, core stability exercises, balance work and myofascial release for my muscles.
There are different densities, shapes, textures and lengths of foam rollers. You can find them everywhere now. My recommendation is to skip all the fads and pick up a classic roller. If you can squeeze it easily with your hand it is too soft. Choose a long, flat, hard surface roller. It will hurt a little in the beginning if you are rolling out, but you will soon adjust and be glad you chose it.
Here are some great tips for how to use a foam roller.
1. Roll out your feet. If you wear heels during the day, have plantar fasciitis, or just have tired feet, this will make them feel better.
2. Breathe while you are rolling out your muscles. It does hurt a little, but think of it as a deep tissue massage. When you breathe you will relax and allow a deeper release in the muscle.
3. Roll out before and after your workout. Before helps to get blood moving in the muscles, and after helps you feel stretched out.
4. Be careful to only roll your muscles not your joints or organs.
5. No pain no gain. That phrase was never more true than when it comes to the foam roller. It does hurt rolling out those muscles that are very tight. To me that just means I need to be rolling more. The more you roll the less painful it is.
6. Rolling less more often is better than spending a long drawn out session once in a blue moon.
The Foam Roller is an inexpensive piece of equipment. There are tons of ways to use it. For me, I always hit my major muscle groups. Hamstrings, IT band, calves and quads. It keeps me pain free to be honest. I am always so pleasantly surprised when I feel so much better right after I use it. That is what has made me a fan of it for so many years. If you have been working out regularly, and have not tried it yet, pick one up and give it a go. You won’t regret it.
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