Foam rolling is a form of self-myofascial release, or self-massage, that gets rid of adhesions in your muscles and connective tissue. Foam rolling also increases blood flow to your muscles and creates better mobility, helping with recovery and improving performance.
There are two main reasons we foam roll.
Muscles can feel tight for many reasons. You might have had a hard training session on the bike or ran up and down a lot of hills. Conversely a period of inactivity can make your muscles feel tight, such as on a long flight or after hours of sitting at the computer. Either way there’s no need to wait until your next Pilates Class or Remedial Massage for relief. You can start dealing with those issues right away – if you know how to look after yourself. There are a number of “weapons” for self-massage, but one of our favourites is the foam roller, which is particularly renowned for its effects on the quads.
Exercise 1 – Outer thigh massage
Lie on your side with the roller near your hip, rest your other leg’s foot on the floor. Move along your outer thigh. Increase pressure.
The classic example here is the position your mid-back or Thoracic spine is in when you sit. It’s generally flexed forward with the shoulders rounded, which is a problem if later that day you are expecting to stand upright. The exercise below will help you to mobilise that area and prepare you for overhead activities, such as swimming, playing tennis or taking overhead marks in footy.
Exercise 2: Thoracis Spine mobilisation
Put the foam roller under your upper back/thoracic spine. Keep your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Place your hands behind your head. Roll, slowly up and down the vertebrae, pausing on any painful parts (do not roll the neck or lower back, focussing solely on the thoracic spine).