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Beginner's Guide to Foam Rolling

By: Dr. Gargi Tyagi, PT, DPT


How Foam Rolling works


In simple terms, it works similarly to massage, as it increases mobilization/friction between tissue layers leading to decreased muscle tension along with realigning and improving movement of the fascia. It also increases the circulation and blood flow in the area.

Benefits of Foam Rolling


1. Reduces muscle pain.

2. Reduction of trigger points' sensitivity

3. Muscle relaxation

4. Temporarily improves joint range of motion

5. Reduces delayed onset of muscle soreness

6. Improves blood circulation to the area


Things to keep in mind while doing foam roller exercises

Avoid pressure directly over the knee and hip joint to avoid hyperextension of those joints.

Avoid use if it causes severe pain in the area, however some discomfort is normal.

You can start performing for 10-30 seconds at a time in the beginning and go up to 60 seconds as you progress.


It is more beneficial if done after workouts when the body is warmed up already.


Exercises for back and legs


1. Lower back stretch


Place the foam roller horizontally across your back below lower back. Bend your knees and use your legs to roll up towards your shoulders. Clasp your hands under your neck for extra head support.


Keep moving up and down for 20-30 seconds or less in the beginning.

Repeat it 2-3 times.



2. Upper back:


Place foam roller under your back vertically supporting your head and tailbone.

With your knees bent, open your arm wide and out to the sides. Take a deep breath in and out.

Repeat 2-3 times.



3. Upper back stretch:


Place the foam roller horizontally across your back just below the upper back. Bend your knees and move towards your shoulders. Clasp your hands under your neck gently for extra head support. Keep moving up and down for 20-30 seconds or less in the beginning.


Repeat this 2-3 times.




4. Calf stretch:


Place foam roller below your calf muscles and put the opposite leg over top of the other leg.

Slowly roll your calf muscle gently, focusing on any tender spots.


Hold it 20-30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat.



5. Adductor stretch:


Lie down facing the floor and place your thigh over the foam roller with flexed and abducted leg (see picture). Your opposite leg should be supported on the ground.


Slowly roll your inner thigh area and hold tender spots as needed for 20-30 seconds.


Give these a try and you're on your way to a more relaxed, recovered, and restored body! If you are still dealing with persistent aches or pains, and/or muscle or joint stiffness, please reach out to us for an evaluation here: https://www.thegrpt.com/events-and-offers


References:


Pearcey GE, Bradbury-Squires DJ, Kawamoto JE, Drinkwater EJ, Behm DG, Button DC. Foam rolling for delayed-onset muscle soreness and recovery of dynamic performance measures. J Athl Train. 2015;50(1):5-13. doi:10.4085/1062-6050-50.1.01

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