Foam rolling is like flossing. You should do it regularly and you always feel better when you do. But foam rolling isn’t just for recovery, although it is a great recovery tool, it is for a serious workout too!
If you have ever taken one of Defy's Instructor Extraordinaire Laura’s foam roller classes you know what I am talking about!
But let's talk a little recovery first. When you use a foam roller as a recovery tool, you are helping release the lactic acid that builds up in your muscles during exercise. Compare the action to putting air in your tires, you’re fluffing the muscles up so it’s met as tight and dense. But the muscles aren’t the only ones reaping the benefits, connective tissue, or fascia also greatly benefits from foam rolling. Fascia wraps around your entire body like a wetsuit, from the top of your head to the bottoms of your feet. When fascia is healthy it is stretchy and flexible. But knots, tension, and toxins can lodge in the fascia, making it hard thick, dense and results in pain and inflammation.
Adding foam rolling to your regular routine can also improve your flexibility, balance, decrease exercise fatigue, and reduce your likelihood of being sore.
Regular rolling can help you lengthen muscle by turning off overworked muscles and helping you tune into your stabilizing muscles including your core. You may even feel a little taller, as rolling can decompress the spine and other joints as well as improving your posture.
Don’t forget the fun (Yes, we said FUN!) you can have with foam rolling as an exercise tool! Everything from planking to bridging to lunges. Here are some of our favorite go to exercises:
Plank - facing the floor with your hands under your shoulders and your knees on the ground place the foam roller under the tops of your feet. Then lift your knees off the ground and roll the foam roller from the tops of your feet to your knees. Go back and forth ten times. Do three sets.
To advance this move, lift one leg off the foam roller.
Standing Lunge - stand on your right foot, knee slightly bent, and put the top of your left foot on a foam roller behind you, leg straight. Raise your arms directly overhead. Bend your right knee lower and extend the left leg back, pressing it into the foam roller as it moves up your shin, until your right thigh is nearly parallel to the floor. Pause, then return to start. That's one rep. Do four to six on each side.
Reverse Crunch - Position your hands behind your head, knees bents and feet flat on the floor. The foam roller behind the middle of your back. Extend your back over the foam roller then curl up pulling your ribs down to your hips. Do 6-8.
To advance this move, lift one leg off the floor.
Remember, when in doubt....Roll it out, mix it up and be on the lookout for the next Roller Fit Workshop at Defy!