By: Michael Lam B.H.K., MPT
Want to try out something new to improve your flexibility? Do you want to reduce the time you spend sore after a workout?
Foam rolling could be your answer!
Foam rolling is a self-administered soft tissue release technique. A simple foam roll can provide several benefits. Studies have demonstrated that foam rolling after exercise substantially reduces muscle soreness, and improves static and dynamic range of motion, improves vertical jump height, and improves flexibility.
Some tips when foam rolling:
- Take your time and roll for longer over tight spots
- Remember to breathe while rolling
- Foam rolling should be done for about 20-30 seconds per exercise
Here are my top 3 foam rolling exercises **:
Thoracic Spine Rolling
- Place the foam roller in the middle of your back.
- Gently roll up and down your back. As you roll down, lift your arms overhead. As you roll up, bring your arms down to your sides.
- This exercise is great for relieving tension in your back, as well as improving mobility in your thoracic spine.
IT Band Rolling
- While lying on your side, place the foam roller beneath your hip.
- Bend your upper leg and place on the ground to steady your body as you perform this exercise.
- Using your body weight, gently roll up and down the length of your thigh.
- Repeat on the other side.
- This exercise is a great way to prevent patellofemoral pain syndrome, also known as "Runner's Knee".
Hip Adductor Rolling
- Lay down facing the ground, almost as if you were assuming a Spiderman crawl position.
- Place the foam roller on the inside of your thigh at an angle to your leg.
- Gently roll along the inside of your thigh.
- Repeat on the other side.
- This exercise is great for releasing the inner thigh and groin muscles.
With all that said and done, consistency in the end is what truly matters. To reach your exercise or flexibility goals, you have to continue to work on it every day. Success isn't achieved over night, it's an accumulation of small successes every day.
** Please note, the exercises outlined here are provided as a guideline. Please seek guidance from your physiotherapist before pursuing new physical activities. If you have any questions about foam rolling exercises, or are interested in purchasing a foam roller, speak to one of the therapists at our clinic.
1. MacDonald, G.Z., Button, D.C., Drinkwater, E.J., & Behm, D.G. (2014). Foam Rolling as a Recovery Tool after an Intense Bout of Physical Activity. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 46 (1), 131-142.
2. Mohr, A.R., Long, B.C., & Goad, C.L. (2014). Effect of Foam Rolling and Static Stretching on Passive Hip-Flexion Range of Motion. Journal of Sport Rehabilitation, 23, 296-299.)