Have you ever purchased brand new sports gear only to realize that you haven‘t got a clue on how to effectively use it? Weirdly, a large number of foam rollers, purchased in the best of interests by keen workout enthusiasts, end up completely unused or largely ignored and abandoned.
Using them can be an incredibly useful addition to any exercise routine, whether it’s cardio-intensive CrossFit, weightlifting, or just a quick home workout. The reason behind this lack of use is, in fact, very simple: people have no clue what to do with it.
As keen as you were to unpack your brand-new roller, chances are you haven’t got the slightest idea of the variety of exercises you can do. Luckily, having stumbled upon this article, you are already on your way to mastering the art of what we like to call “effective rolling.”
It’s useful for more than just your back.
Quite often, people struggle to find alternative positions for doing basic rolling exercises and massages. While using your foam roller to massage and stretch your back is excellent, it can be used for so much more! Simply turning over onto your stomach and using the roller to exercise your chest can be more than just a strong massage; it can be quite intense workout.
Foam rollers are also extremely beneficial for training your lats and triceps. Lying on your side and doing multiple reps on your lats, followed by your triceps, is sure to get your blood pumping as well as help you shape those hard-to-reach spots.
Finally, while most people are familiar with the idea of doing horizontal rolls on your back, try and shift things around by placing your foam roller vertically. This is a great exercise for both your upper back and your neck as well. Just make sure to maintain your posture!
For a more detailed list of the various exercises, you can achieve with foam rollers, feel free to use these links. They offer a basic overview of exercises as well as visual aids to help you get in the right positions every time.
You can’t use it if you don’t bring it along.The easiest way to not use a foam roller is to simply leave it behind. It’s the age-old excuse of “whoops, I must have left it at home again.”. And that’s just not going to work. If anything, you’re just throwing money away by not using stuff that you paid for!
Make an additional effort and plan out your routine with the roller in mind. While you don’t have to center your workout around it, including some mixed exercises with rollers that combine both strength building and massaging can have outstanding effects. What is more, a balanced workout that involves rolling exercises can actually reduce post-workout pains, which is often a cause for people to stop exercising altogether.
It’s all well and good to keep up your lifts and your cardio, but adding some extra roll to your workout can go a long way. After all, it’s an incredibly versatile piece of gym equipment. Calves, quads, thighs – they all deserve a little rolling action. It’s up to you to deliver.
When in Doubt: YouTube
Reading about exercises is only useful for slightly more experienced athletes who have an understanding of basic joint movement, various muscle groups, and balanced workout routines. And sometimes that’s just not enough. It’s especially vital for beginner athletes as well as people recovering from injury to ensure a workout that’s not only good for your muscles but safe for your health. Even something as innocent as a foam roller can have dangerous effects on your body if used incorrectly.
While some amateurs may go through their workouts with a personal trainer, others opt for a more individual approach. In fact, foam rollers are so universal that they are perfectly suited for use at home. Which is why it’s all the more important that you do your exercises right.
Below, I’ve linked several excellent YouTube videos featuring a wide array of foam roller exercises. Be sure to pay special attention to the body movements as well as the breathing of the athletes in these videos. Mind their posture and the angles at which they perform the exercises. These factors are key to ensuring a good, safe workout.