Foam rollers are designed to invigorate your winding down and cooling down process. They can help to stretch and flex your muscles and help them to relax after a hard training session.
There are many different ways to use foam rollers at the end or beginning of your workout - here are 5 to get you started:
Foam rolling your thoracic spine (upper back) can reduce any pain and discomfort in this area and help it stretch ready for your workout.
Start by resting your back against the broadest side of the roller which should be positioned below your shoulder blades. Keep your knees bent and keep your feet flat.
Lift your hips and place your hands behind your head. From this position, keep your core tight and slowly roll forward and backward so the roller moves up to the top of your shoulder blades and back down to the middle of your back.
Keep your head and neck completely in line with your back to reduce stress.
To train your lats, you should lie comfortably on your right side and extend your right arm out above your head but parallel with the ground.
The roller should be positioned under your right armpit and in line and make a cross shape with your body, if looked at from above. Bend your left arm and place your left hand lightly down for additional support if you need it.
Roll yourself up and down so the roller moves from your armpit down to your waist. Remember to switch sides so both get a full stretch and workout.
Sit on the floor with your legs out straight. Extend your arms out to lift your lutes and then place the broadest side of your foam roller under, as if you’re sitting on it.
Bend one leg and position your body at an angle so one cheek is bearing the brunt of your body weight.
Move your glute back and forth across the roller (this is only a small movement so don’t worry if it feels it) and then when you’re done, switch sides and shift your weight to the other cheek.
Sit down on the floor and position your roller underneath one of your calves. Place your hands on the floor behind you and lift your glutes.
All of your bodyweight should be taken by either the roller or your hands. Slowly roll forward and backward with your leg down as far as your ankle and up as far as your knee.
For additional intensity you can try both legs at once or stack them on top of each other.
Lie on your front with the foam roller placed directly below your thighs. Lean on your forearms so they take the bulk of your weight and your feet should be suspended in the air.
With your abs drawn in and your core held tight, use your forearms to move yourself gently backwards and forwards. Roll up as far as your pelvic bone and down to just near to your knees.
You can add more difficulty by stacking your feet again.
Are these really a good substitute for seeing a physio? I don't want to fork out the money for a physio if roller would work just as well. And is there are best type to get for calf injuries?
I used foam rollers when I had a quadriceps injury from running. The difference from the massage really pleased me and I would definitely look to them if I get injured again.
I'd always thought these looked a bit gimmicky but some friends have used them and says they work great. Certainly cheaper than a sports massage.
I have been told to use this to help my knee by massaging the ilio-tibial band. I have to say it is a rather painful exercise, but it does help so I shall persevere.