Foam rollers have become a favorite tool of massage therapists, practitioners, chiropractors, and physical therapists all over the world. Their versatility and simplicity have allowed many exercises and techniques available to everyone without the need for complicated and expensive equipment. Stretching, strength training, meditation, and trigger-point therapy are only a few of the many uses for your foam roller. Some of the most popular (and proven!) techniques are described below so you can get the most out of your roller. Your home routine can now be entirely expanded to include this techniques.
Lets get started!
Do you have a Full Round roller or a Half Round? (Click one.)
Begin by placing a half-round foam roller flat side down on on a clean floor (or use an exercise mat). Make sure there is enough open space around you to move freely. Sit at the end of the roller, and gradually lay back - making sure that your spine lays in line with the top of the roller. Rest your head in alignment with the rest of your spine. It is normal if your spine is not completely touching the roller - as long as you are parallel with the length of the roller. From this position, just relax and let gravity do all of the work. You may eventually feel small adjustments in your spine as it corrects itself.
Bonus: Let your head rest just off of the end of the roller at the very top of where your spine meets your skull (occipital protuberance). This emulates a craniosacral-like effect and may help relieve headaches.
To add an extra element to a standard workout, place the roller flat-side up and situate yourself in the standard push up position on top of the roller. Keeping your wrists stable and your back straight, perform the push up while trying not to rock the roller. For a more mild challenge, place the flat side of the roller on the floor/mat and put your hands shoulder-width apart on the rounded side.
Utilize your half foam roller to increase your balance and train your muscles to work together to keep you from toppling over. Standing over the roller, place the roller flat-side up in the middle of a mat or cushioned area. Stand on your roller with one foot in front of the other and your toes pointing toward the end of the roller. From here, there are multiple exercises you can perform:
1. Try to crouch on the roller while remaining balanced on the roller (pictured to the left). Then return to standing position and repeat.
2. Improve balance (pronation/supination): From standing position, slowly rock the roller from side to side bending only at the ankles while trying to remain standing straight up.
3. Improve balance (plantar/dorsal): Perform exercise number 2 with one adjustment - begin standing on the roller with feel shoulder-width apart with your feet perpendicular to the length of the roller. Rock the roller bending only at the ankles forward and backward.