Post-workout massage? Yes please! But who really has a personal masseuse at the ready after each gym session? Not us… introducing the foam roller. Foam rolling massages knots out of muscles, prevents injury and aids flexibility. Here’s how you can use it after your workout for a full body muscular release!
Hip flexors are often ignored when we stretch and exercise because we don’t often feel their tightness. But when they are damaged, we’re doomed. They affect your walking, running, squatting, cycling and nearly everything else where your legs are involved. Hip flexors can also lead to back pain, which is why it’s crucial to keep them supple and healthy.
For your right hip flexor: Lie face down with your foam roller underneath your right hip. Move your left leg up and to the side – it should be at a 90° angle. Place your forearms in front of you, on the floor. With your right leg extended out behind you and your toes pointed, place the right foot flat on the ground. Slowly roll forward and back – you should feel it in the muscle just inside your hip bone.
For your left hip flexor: repeat on the other side.
With our daily movement, gym workouts and general insufficient stretching, our hamstrings can be some of the tightest of muscles. Loosening them up can massively help your rate of movement, optimising workouts and allowing you to perform better.
For the right hamstring: Sit upright on the floor with your legs in front of you. Move your left leg behind you so that your knee is bent and your inner leg and foot is resting on the floor. Place the foam roller beneath your right hamstring, just below your glute. Use your hands on the ground to roll your hamstring over the roller back and forward.
For the left hamstring: repeat above with the opposite legs.
We overuse our quads in the gym. Whether you’re squatting, running, cycling, leg pressing and so on… and you an probably feel them the most frequently after working out. If they’re tight, your quads can restrict your movement, decrease performance and even support your body less when doing exercise. This is why you should be foam rolling them after every workout.
Your quads are the easiest muscles to foam roll, even if they may be the most painful. Lay face down on the floor, with the foam roller under your quads. Your bodyweight should be supported by your forearms. Push yourself back and forwards gently and slowly, so you cover the whole of your quads. Roll backwards at the same pace and repeat!
Glutes can be tough to roll out – the movement requires a bit of body strength. But it’s totally worth it. There’s nothing worse than going to sit down but your glutes are still sore from working out the day before. Rolling them out will also help your hips and back.
Here’s how to roll them out: Siit on top of the foam roller with your knees bent. Cross your right ankle over your left knee. Using your left foot, roll your glutes over the roller. Make sure you switch sides so you can get a deep roll in both glutes!
Your back and shoulders are notorious for having knots in them. This can cause you everyday discomfort in your upper body without you even realising it. When you foam roll your upper back, you’ll feel so much better and you won’t believe you lived with a tight back all this time!
Shoulders: Lie on your back with your knees bent at 90° and your feet flat on the floor. Place the foam roller underneath your traps. Lift your lower back and glutes off the floor with your core tight. The weight should be transferred to your upper back resting on the foam roller. Roll backwards and forwards slowly.
Upper back: Lie on your back with your knees bent at 90° and your feet flat on the ground. Place the foam roller underneath your shoulders. Cross your arms over your body as if you were hugging yourself. Lift your lower back and glutes off the floor. Push with your feet to roll back and forth.
You don’t often feel that your calves are tight, unless you’ve changed up your exercise routine or gone for a run. Nonetheless, they are super important to keep supple for your range of movement and to protect your back from taking too much support.
Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you. Place the foam roller under your calves and rock your body backwards slightly, supporting your upper body with outstretched arms. Lift your glutes off the ground using your core and resting most of your weight on your hands and calves. Roll back and forth across your calves using your abs.