Most athletes and bodybuilders are used to professional gym machines like weightlifting rods, exercise bikes, rowers, etc. These machines are beneficial to the body in strengthening the core and building muscles but sometimes, constantly working out with such equipment leads to muscle soreness and fatigue, and for these reasons, people are in need of a simple tool that can act as a good stimulator for muscles and provide relief from pain too. To provide such benefits, many fitness trainers and coaches have considered a foam roller, as an effective tool. For those who prefer a workout at home, a foam roller can prove to be the best home gym equipment they can work with.
What is a foam roller?
A foam roller is a lightweight cylindrical object made of compressed foam that can be used in many ways including reducing soreness, increasing mobility and flexibility, eliminating muscle knots, etc. If you have seen a bolster pillow, then you can easily imagine how a foam roller may look like. Foam rolling is used in a self-myofascial release, a fancy term often used for self-massage. It helps in reducing inflammation and triggers those points that involve muscle tightness. People who work out daily or those having a home gym can have a foam roller, for everyday warm-up sessions.
Here are some of the best foam roller exercises that you can begin with, in your path of fitness and well-being.
This exercise with a foam roller is very effective for regular runners who wear shoes with elevated heels or spikes. With constant running, the calves may become sore or overactive. To start the exercise, take the foam roller and place it between your legs and the floor while lying down on the floor. Place it under your mid-calf and cross one leg on top of the other. Now move the foam roller back and forth on tender spots. Do this for about 60-90 seconds until the discomfort is reduced.
If you want to work on your thighs then this exercise is good for you to start. Lie down with your front body touching the ground. Place your thigh, flexed and abducted on the foam roller, and rest your other foot on the ground. Now start rolling the foam with your thigh in slow motion and find the tender spot. Switch legs after you find one leg comfortable with the workout.
If you are a part of a sedentary lifestyle, then a quads workout is very much essential for your body. Quads workout improves blood flow and also keeps your muscles engaged. For this exercise, get into the forearm plank position with the roller placed beneath your quads. Then move the roller slowly till it reaches a point above the knees and then roll it in the opposite direction till it reaches your hips. Do this for 30 seconds until the discomfort is reduced.
Sitting on a chair for a long time especially in long hours at desk jobs can really mess up your posture. Most people tend to do a lot of stretching afterward but if you work with a foam roller instead, it would be a lot better. Once again get into the forearm plank position and place the foam underneath your left hip flexor. Rest your other leg on the floor and slowly move the foam roller up and down and side to side. Try to put close attention on trigger points and continue to do the exercise for about 30 seconds. Keep switching the legs.
Another great workout to kick start your day could be hamstrings. This workout helps the muscles that are negatively affected from long sitting positions and sometimes from poor posture. To do this exercise, position the foam roller underneath your hamstrings while sitting on the floor with your legs extended. Put your body weight on the roller and start moving it up and down at the back of your knees. Practice for 30 seconds at least.
When using a foam roller for the first time, try not to over workout as it could be painful sometimes. If you are new to it then try a light workout first and then move slowly towards the next level. Just make sure to buy a basic low-to-medium-density foam roller for your first try and then you are ready to go.