Foam rolling, also known as “self-myofascial release,” is a wonderful technique to help your body move freely again. In other words, self-myofascial release is a fancy term for self-massage designed to release muscle tightness or trigger points. This technique can be performed with a foam roller, lacrosse ball, golf ball, theracane, or your own hands. By applying pressure to specific points on your body, you can aid the recovery of muscles and assist in returning them to normal function. This means getting your muscles healthy, elastic, and ready to perform at a moment’s notice. I’ve witnessed great results with individuals experiencing knee, shoulder, back, or sciatic pain just by using this simple method.
General Guidelines to keep in mind when foam rolling:
1. Hold each position for 1-2 minutes on each side (when applicable).
2. If pain is restored, stop rolling and REST on the painful areas for 30-45 seconds.
3. Maintain the proper Draw-In position, which provides stability to the back and hips during rolling.
4. You can perform foam rolling 1 to 2 times daily.
Glutes & Piriformis
Start in the position shown with one foot crossed over the opposite knee. Roll on the posterior hip area. Enhance the stretch by gently pulling the knee toward the opposite shoulder. This exercise is particularly beneficial for individuals dealing with sciatic pain.
Lie facedown with the foam roller under your quadriceps. Maintain proper Core control by keeping your abdominal muscles drawn in and your gluteals tight to prevent compensations in the lower back. Roll from the upper thighs to the knees.
Inner thigh (adductors)
Lie on your side with your bottom leg bent for support. Extend the top leg straight out and place the foam roller perpendicular to your thigh. Keep your core engaged to maintain stability and protect your lower back. Use your hands and bottom leg to control the pressure on the foam roller. Begin rolling from the knee towards the hip, moving along the inner thigh. Roll slowly and pause on any tender spots, applying gentle pressure.
Sit on the floor with your legs extended straight in front of you.
Place the foam roller under your calves. Place your hands on the floor behind you, supporting your weight. Lift your hips off the ground, using your hands and arms for support. Start rolling from just above the back of your ankle to just below the knee, moving along the length of your calves. Roll slowly, focusing on areas that feel tight or tender.