If you’ve ever woken up in the morning and your muscles were aching and screaming, then chances are you could really benefit from some myofascial release.
Myofascial what now?
If you’re scratching your head in confusion, no worries. I didn’t know what myofascial release meant until recently. Basically it is just a fancy term for foam rolling.
Whether you WOD like a champ or lead a generally active lifestyle, your muscles can become tight and knotted. If you push on these trigger points, you can actually feel the knot in your muscle. Not pleasant, right!
Well, foam rolling is a great way to target these pain points and help release the tension that is keeping them constricted. And I can practically guarantee that once you start rolling out you’ll start finding knots you didn’t even realize you had.
So what should you be rolling out and how should you be doing it?
7 Ways to Use a Foam Roller
Here are a few different areas and techniques for targeting all your major knotty muscle zones.
Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you and support your weight by placing your hands on the floor behind you. Place the foam roller under your calves starting at the part closest to your ankle. Slowly roll along the back of your legs. As you move up inch by inch, stop and roll your calves side to side across it, not just up and down. This will help target hidden tightness and gentle massage it away.
Using your hands to support your weight again, sit on the roller with your right leg and then cross your left ankle over your right ankle. Roll up and down from your knee to just under your right bum cheek. Again move side to side as well. Do this for 2 minutes then switch legs and repeat on the left hamstring.
Lying face down on the floor, place the foam roller just below your hips. Similar to the hamstring, you want to place your weight on one leg first. Lean into your right leg first, as you roll up and down from your hip to your knee. Again, rolling side to side as well. After 2 minutes, switch legs and repeat.
This is by far my favorite exercise, especially in the mornings. Try it…you’ll understand why!
Start by siting on the floor with the foam roller on your lower back and placing your hands behind you for balance and support. Slowly bend your knees to move the roller up your back. It helps to keep your core tight while doing this. Move the roller up to just below your shoulder blades and then work back down.
5. Outer Thigh
Unlike the back, this is my least favorite exercise because it hurts like a mother trucker. Don’t believe me? Give it a whirl!
Lying on your side, place the roller under your right hip. So you don’t topple over, squeeze your abs and glutes then slowly roll down from your hip to your knee. After 2 minutes swap sides.
This area is often incredibly tight and awfully painful, but with repeated rolling you will be able to loosen it up and feel much better.
To give your shoulders a good roll out, lie on your back with the roller behind your shoulders. Lace your fingers loosely behind your head to open up your shoulders and then lean your upper back into the roller, using your abs and glutes for stability. Turn ever so slight to the left and press into the roller, raising your right shoulder. In this position, roll from your underarms to the bottom of your rib cage then come back to the center, swap sides and repeat.
Rolling out your butt is oddly satisfying and here’s how. Sit right on top of the roller and cross your right leg over your left knee. Lean your weight into your right hip using your hands for support. Roll one butt cheek up and down, side to side over the roller with your weight remaining on the right side, then swap sides and repeat.
There are so many benefits to foam rolling daily and it only takes 10-15 minutes of your time. Not only will your range of motion improve drastically, but you will feel lighter and more able to crush your next WOD. If you’re looking for even more exercises for the foam roller, check out our video training here!
Do you have a favorite foam rolling exercise? Share it in the comment section below!
March is the founder of the Barbell Beauties. Her goal is simple… Empower every woman to grab a barbell and LIFT. She’s been an active CrossFitter for 7 years and credits that sport for turning her into a true athlete.