Foam Roller Exercises
Despite its simple appearance, a foam roller is an extremely valuable and inexpensive piece of equipment. They can cost anywhere from $15-$50. It really depends on the type and quality. Using the pressure of your own body weight you can perform self -massages to release tension and knots in sore muscles. This is comparable to myofascial release or deep tissue massage, a technique often used in massage therapy. They are also effective in breaking down soft tissue adhesions as well as scar tissue. Another benefit that a foam roller provides is the increased blood flow and circulation to soft tissue. Foam rollers are also effective in increasing balance, core strength and flexibility.
How to Choose a Foam Roller
Foam rollers are available at sport supply stores in different in sizes, shapes, foam types and cost. Determine what you will be using the foam roller for and buy one that suits your needs.
If you need a foam roller mainly for tissue massage, the half-round foam roller is sufficient. Simply applying body weight pressure on the tight muscle will release tension. Half-round rollers are also great for the elderly or persons with little strength or muscle tone because it offers stability and won’t move out from under the person.
When choosing the firmness of a foam roller, consider the colour which determines its firmness:
- White foam rollers are the softest or least firm and will allow movement between the muscles, bones and the roller. It also produces less pressure and pain. If you do purchase a white foam roller ensure that you’re buying a good quality one that will last. White foam rollers tend not to be too durable.
- Blue or Green foam rollers (or any light colour) provides medium pressure and is used for advanced core-stabilization or a medium amount of massage pressure.
- Black foam rollers are the most firm. These are good for the experienced user and effective in applying hard pressure for self-massage. Also good for durability. If you plan on using the roller a lot, a more firm roller will last a lot longer
With the exception of the half-round, foam rollers are generally 6 inches in diameter. The size difference is in the length. Rollers can range anywhere from 12 inches to 36 inches. The longer roller is best for doing total body exercises giving you sufficient surface to roll on without falling off the ends. The shorter rollers are ideal for transporting. So, if you’re the type of person that likes to travel with a small gym, the smaller foam roller will fit nicely into a suitcase.
The cost of a foam roller varies depending on the material it’s made from, the density of the foam and it’s durability. Before purchasing a foam roller, do some research, ask questions then make a decision.
Foam Roller Exercises
In the below video I demonstrate a few basic foam rolling exercises that can be done anywhere. A good routine to start with is 1-2 sets, 10 repetitions, 3-5 times per week. This should effectively release any tension in the muscles and give you a good self-massage. In the video you will see that I start from my neck and work my way down to my calves.
- Upper back
- Lower back
- Lats (left and right)
- IT Band (Iliotibial band)
If you feel any discomfort it should only be slight. Stop rolling if you feel any sharp pain. Your muscles may just need some time to get used to the applied pressure. Try it again in a few days. Always start with light, quick motions and progress to slow, deep rolls. If you hit a really tight spot, using your body weight apply pressure to the muscle and hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
Any questions, please feel free to ask. Happy rolling 🙂
Posted on May 1, 2013, in Fit Tips and tagged Body weight, Core strength, Flexibility, Foam, Foam rolling, Massage, Muscle, Myofascial release, Physical exercise, Roller, stability. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.