Roll your muscles and roll your way to more effective workouts.
Use of foam rolling is on the rise, and some fitness trainers are urging more people to incorporate this activity into their exercise routines. There are significant benefits to the practice of foam rolling regularly.
In addition to and reducing post-workout soreness, foam rolling increases the effectiveness of workouts by smoothing out knots in your fascia, the connective tissue around your muscles, which contribute to movement restriction.
Breaking up these obtrusive knots prior to a workout allows for an increased range of motion. Thus, exercises become more efficient and effective, because executing and feeling movements properly “fires” and engages muscle fibers on a deeper level.
Yet, this tool only works if used properly. If you want to start a regular foam-rolling routine, or want to ensure you’re doing the moves correctly, celebrity trainer A Borden’s guide offers step-by-step instructions for her favorite beginner foam-rolling moves that target major muscle groups.
You’ll feel relief quickly, and, with consistency, start to see benefits in your workouts. Borden says you’ll likely notice a difference in how your body moves and feels after two weeks. She recommends doing each of these foam-rolling moves for 90 seconds (on both sides when applicable). “This is just long enough to work the entire muscle and feel some release of muscle tension,” she says. But you can go farther if your muscles need more rolling out. “Ideally you can spend as long as your body needs on each area depending on how tight you feel.”
Be advised, foam rolling can be a tad uncomfortable (or slightly painful) when just starting out or working overly tight muscles, but the early discomfort is worth pushing through. Granted, if you experience extraordinary or sharp pains, stop and consult with your doctor immediately.
Ready, set, roll.
1 … Quad Roll-Out
Start in forearm plank with the roller under the center of your quads perpendicular to your legs, as shown. Keep your head in line with your spine, eyes facing downward, and pull in your belly.
On your forearms, crawl forward until the roller is just above your kneecaps, then crawl backward until the roller is at the top of your thigh.
If you hit a sore spot, hold the roller there and bend and extend the leg that is feeling the knot.
Focus on placing your weight in your left leg for 90 seconds, then focus on your right leg for 90 seconds.
2 … Calf Roll-Out
Lie on your back with your hands behind your head, fingers interlaced. Position the roller under the bottom of your left calf, and cross your right ankle over your left calf on the roller for pressure, as shown.
Keeping your left foot relaxed, slowly turn the foot in and out to massage your left calf.
Slide the roller up your left calf and repeat the movement until the entire calf has been rolled out.
When you feel a sticking point as you roll your calf, hold on that point and do a giant circle with your bottom foot 3 times in one direction and 3 times in the opposite direction. Then move to next section of the calf.
Continue for 90 seconds, then repeat with your right calf.
3 … Glute Roll-Out
Sit on the roller (perpendicular to your body) with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor and hands on the floor behind you to support your body.
Cross your left ankle onto your right knee.
Tilt your left knee down toward the floor to open up your hip, as shown.
Using your right foot to move you, slowly roll back and forth. Try a few slightly different knee angles to adjust the intensity.
Continue for 90 seconds, then repeat with your right glute.
4 … Lat Roll-Out
Lie on your left side with knees slightly bent, your left knee slightly in front of you.
Bend your left elbow and cover your ear with your hand to support your head and neck. Try to not have any tension in your neck.
Place the roller just below your left armpit, perpendicular to your body, as shown.
Slowly rock forward and backward 5 times at armpit, and then move the roller to the place where the bottom of your sports bra hits. Rock forward and backward slowly.
Alternate between these two spots for 90 seconds, then repeat on the right side for 90 seconds.
5 … Upper Back Roll-Out
Lie face up with the roller under the bottom of your shoulder blades, knees bent and feet planted on the floor.
Interlace your fingers and place your hands behind your head, relaxing your neck.
Engage your core and raise your hips up off the floor.
Using your feet, slowly roll your body up and down so the roller moves from the bottom of your shoulder blades to the base of your neck, as shown.
Continue for 90 seconds.