Yesterday I started talking about foam rolling, the popular massage/stretching technique that imitates a good deep tissue massage for much, much less than going to see a professional masseuse -best part: you can do it yourself at home. Today I’m going to go through some of my favorite stretches on the roller and feed you Gnarly denizens some sweet links to actually show you what I’m talking about. Let’s get started!
A couple of pointers before we start
Remember, to roll you need a hard, flat service. Carpet’s fine, but sometimes I feel like I can get a deeper massage if I’m on a harder surface. As far as rollers go, I really like GRID roller by Trigger Point. But, If you are new to foam rolling, go with a softer roller. Keep in mind that If you have deep muscular injuries, you may find better results with a more dense roller like the GRID. There is no real time requirement for each muscle group. The more you roll, the more you will be able to tell how much time you should be spending. Over rolling can cause bruising, so just be careful and listen to your body.
To start, turn over onto your stomach and rest on your forearms. Always keep your core tight, belly button tucked to your spine. The muscles you are rolling out should be completely relaxed. Roll from the bottom of the hip to the top of the knee. Roll slowly. When you roll over a knot, stop and bend your knee up and down to massage the knot a few times, and then continue rolling. Here’s the vid.
Your iliotibial band is a thick fibrous band that runs from your hip to the outside of your knee. Sometimes when people experience a tight IT-Band, they’ll have a distinct pain on the outside of the knee. Roll out that IT band and you’ll see that pain disappear in no time. Turn to your side, resting on your forearm. Start at the knee and slowly roll up to the hip. Repeat a few passes, again stopping and bending the leg on the more tender spots. Here’s the vid.
To roll out the inner thigh, lay on your stomach and place the foam roller at your side, and angle it about 45* from you. Place your leg over the roller and stabilize yourself with the opposite foot. Roll from the groin to the knee, stopping to bend and extend the leg if you feel some knots. Once again, here’s the video.
Piriformis and Glutes
The piriformis is a pear shaped muscle deep in the glutes. When this gets tight, it can cause shooting pain down your glutes and hamstrings. To roll it out, start by sitting on the roller. place your foot on your knee and then drop the knee. Roll and try to relax the glutes so the pressure can massage the piriformis. Here’s a great video for the piriformis.
Coming up tomorrow
I’ll talk about the Hamstrings, Calves, and Shins. All great areas to hit with the foam roller to keep you moving doing everything you love to do. You know what I love? Hopping on some Gnarly Whey after a long run and good foam rolling session. It’s sweet sweet nectar.