Foam rolling, or self-myofascial release, should be an essential component to every athlete’s training routine. Most of us are not fortunate to be able to afford or have the time to get daily massages, that is why a foam roller is so important! Foam rolling is a self-massage technique that can help to prevent injury, increase circulation, aid with flexibility, and help to restore optimal muscle function.
I must forewarn you…you will probably develop a love/hate relationship with foam rolling as it HURTS!! Although this pain should not be “real pain” rather it should be a “it hurts so good” kind of pain. If you are experiencing “real” or sharp pain, you should consult your physician to make sure you do not have an impending or current injury.
I like to keep my favorite foam roller in my family room and use it while I unwind from the day while I catch up on my current Netflix series. I find that I get the most benefit from deep tissue sports massages and as such I like to inflict a good pain on my legs. Using the TV to distract me from the slightly beyond comfortable pain is a good way to pass the 1-2 minutes needed to roll a tight and tender muscle group.
There are plenty of articles and videos available to help you in your foam rolling needs. To get started I recommend these 6 simple exercises.
Sit with your right leg on the roller, left knee bent, hands on the floor behind you. Roll from just above your knee to right below your glute. Switch legs.
Sitting on the roller, cross your right leg over your left knee and lean toward the right hip, hands on the floor for support. Roll the right cheek. Switch sides.
Lie facedown on the floor and place the roller under your hips. Lean on your right quad and roll between your hip and knee. Switch legs.
Sit with the roller behind you. Lace your fingers behind your head and lean your upper back onto the roller. Tighten your abs and glutes and slowly roll up and down.
Lie on your right side with the roller just below your hip. Bend your left leg and place that foot on the floor. Roll the side of the right leg between hip and knee. Switch legs.
Sit on the floor with your legs out, hands on the floor behind you. Place the roller under your knees. Roll along your calves from your knees to your ankles and back again.
I personally feel like the foam roller is a great tool against injury. With the amount that I ride, I know I don’t stretch nearly as much as I should, and do not have the time for regular massage appointments. I find that the foam roller allows me to recover quicker and helps to prevent injury. In other words, get rolling!
Felicia is a Moxie Cycling Ambassador and blog contributor. Check out her bio here!