Professional trainers have long known about the foam roller’s benefits for elite athletes, but experts have only just started learning how valuable they can be for everyone else.
They help soothe tight, sore areas (known as 'trigger points') and speed up muscle recovery, so the next time you hit the gym, you can perform your best.
Bulk Nutrients ambassador and WBFF Pro Alicia Gowans is here to share the five top foam rolling moves that get her through those hard training weeks.
1. Foam Roller Upper Back (Thoracic Spine)
Rest your back against the broad side of a roller positioned underneath your shoulders. Bend your knees so your feet rest flat on the floor. Lift your butt and cross your arms over your chest.
Roll slowly forward and back so you feel the roller move up and down between your middle back and shoulders. When rolling keep your head and neck in line with your back at all times.
This move is great after a back workout or even after a long day at the office hunched over your computer to relieve upper back and shoulder tension.
2. Foam Roller Lower Back
Roll on your hip flexors and be sure to focus on the glute roll. Facing down, drop your hips onto the foam roller and fully extend the legs. Lean to the side you want to work on – using the toes as support on your opposite leg for balance. Repeat on the other side.
Now you might be thinking how can rolling on my hip flexors help my lower back? Tight hip flexors are the cause of most lower back pain as if you’re sitting at a desk all day your hip flexors will be in a shortened position. The hip flexors then become contracted, which causes strain on the lower back.
This move is great to do on a daily basis whether you are going to the gym or not as it will help keep your hip flexors loose which will improve your all over performance.
3. Foam Roller Quadriceps
Lie face down with the roller under your thighs. Bend your elbows so that your forearms are flat on the floor to support your weight. Your feet should be suspended above the floor.
When you start rolling keep your abs drawn in and the core tight, use your arms to gently roll your body forward and back to move them up and down from your pelvic bone to just above your knees.
If this move is done on a regular basis it will help with leg and hip extension which is integral when doing things such as squats and when lifting heavy weights.
4. Foam Roller Glutes
Start sitting on the floor with your legs straight. Extend your arms to lift your glutes, place the broad side of the roller under your butt, and bend one leg and angle your body so one cheek bears the brunt of your weight.
When you start rolling, move your glute back and forth across the roller. Focus on pressing through your palms and move through your shoulders to shift forward and back.
When your time is up, shift your weight to the other side and repeat. If the intensity it too much you can also roll both legs at the same time to alleviate some pressure.
5. Foam Roller Hamstrings
Start sitting with your legs extended in front of you and position the broad side of the roller under your thighs. Pop your hands behind you to support yourself.
Roll back and forth to move the roller up and down from the bottom of your glutes to just above your knees to really hit those hamstrings. Rotating your legs in and out can also help to allow you to hit all angles of your hamstrings.
Hamstrings are super important for flexibility and mobility when working out so making sure they are loose is a great way to ensure you get the most out of your workout.
Foam rolling is a great way to help mobility especially when working out consistently. By foam rolling everyday not only will your recovery time be quicker, but you should also notice a difference in your actual workouts in terms of flexibility and mobility.