Are you experiencing muscle tightness in your lower back and other parts of your body? If that’s the case then foam rolling (a type of self-myofascial release) is an effective way to help loosen up, increase blood flow and target different muscle groups in your body. Aside from proper stretching, you can also reduce muscle soreness and tightness with the help of these foam roller exercises:
IT Band Roll
If you’re experiencing pain in your ITB (iliotibial band), a long thickened band of connective tissue which runs down the outside of your thigh from the hip to just below the knee then you have to use a foam roller in order to reduce tightness in this joint.
You can do this by carefully lying down on your side with your bottom leg placed onto a foam roller. Make sure that it’s between the hip and the knee and that your top leg is crossed in front of you. Don’t forget to support your upper body with your forearm that's closest to the ground and the hand of your other arm. Also, do make it a point to place as much weight that you are comfortable with onto your bottom leg. After that, gently roll back and forth along the outer thigh from above your knee until the boniest part of your hip. Do the same thing with your opposite leg.
Lower Back Roll
Sitting all day can leave your back stiff and sore. To ease lower back pain, reduce tightness and improve lower back activation, sit on the floor with the foam roller and slowly place resting hands behind your head. After that, make sure to tighten your abdominal area and gently bend your knees to move the roller back and forward. Don’t forget to keep your weight off of the spine and on the muscles to one side of it. Repeat on the other back muscle.
Upper Back Roll
Targeting your lower back isn’t enough at times. You have to target your upper back too. Do this by lying down on the foam roller. Keep in mind to position it just below your shoulder blades in the middle of your back and it must be perpendicular to your spine. After that, slowly place your hands behind your neck to support it. Always be careful with it to prevent yourself from pulling your neck. Make sure to protract your blades by bringing your elbows in and toward your chest. After pulling it off, bend your knees, lift your butt off the floor and gently roll forward and back.
If you want to improve the flexibility of your knees and decrease soreness and knee cap-related stress then foam rolling your quadriceps is ideal. Start by lying facedown on the floor and make sure that your weight is supported by either your forearms or hands. After that, position your foam roller under your hips. Gently roll up and down from hip to knees.and try to shift as much weight that you can tolerate onto the leg to be stretched. Repeat on the opposite side to also reduce the tension in the upper part of that leg.
Hamstrings can be hard to target using a foam roller but unwinding this small muscle called “piriformis” which is located deep in the buttocks behind the gluteus maximus will help decrease the tightness that you’re feeling in your hamstrings or glutes. You can do this by first sitting with your butt on top of a foam roller. Make sure your knees with the achy glute are gently bent before you decide to shift onto the side of the crossed leg. After that, smoothly roll around your glutes in circles until you feel some kind of tension. Switch legs and carefully do the same on the other side. Once you finally hit a tight spot, don’t hesitate to stay there and fan your knee in and out just like what you did with the other leg,
That’s it for now. These are just some body parts that you can target to reduce muscle soreness and help with your range of motion among others. This is actually easier said than done because the process of rolling out knots can be a little bit painful and uncomfortable but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? So don’t give up from the get go and find a way to work through the initial discomfort because the reward after the hard work is going to be worth it.
Stay safe and be gentle with yourself during this lockdown fitfam!
P.S Foam rolling doesn’t apply for those with recent injuries or long history of persistent pain. If that doesn't apply to you then order your very own Nordic Lifting foam roller here.