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Roll With It: Foam Rolling Techniques for Every Athlete
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Roll With It: Foam Rolling Techniques for Every Athlete

Published June 13, 2024

ROLL WITH IT: FOAM ROLLING EXERCISES FOR EVERY ATHLETE

ROLL WITH IT: FOAM ROLLING TECHNIQUES FOR EVERY ATHLETE

As athletes, we’re always on the move. We dream to achieve, grow, and discover our best selves. But our journey doesn’t come without roadblocks, and sometimes, this means we encounter muscle knots and body tension.

If you’re experiencing muscle soreness, a foam roller is just what you need.

Stretch it out with these foam roller exercises that enhance flexibility, ease muscle tension, and improve sports performance for every athlete and lifestyle.

FOAM ROLLING BENEFITS

With just a foam tube and some empty floor space, you can manage muscle pain and soreness by applying pressure to tense areas of the body.

Specifically, foam rolling can:

  • Alleviate muscle soreness and pain.

  • Aid in muscle recovery.

  • Reduce muscle and connective tissue inflammation.

  • Help prevent injury.

  • Increase blood flow to the muscles.

  • Prompt relaxation.

  • Increase flexibility.

Implement foam rolling into your warmup or post-workout routine to ease the soreness from exercising and help the muscles recover for boosted performance during your next sweat sesh.

FOAM ROLLING EXERCISES

Foam rolling exercises don’t have to take more than 10 minutes out of your day for you to feel the benefits. In fact, they don’t even have to be done daily—you can implement them according to your body’s needs and schedule.

These exercises target the different areas of the body that often feel tense after a workout:

HAMSTRINGS

Located at the back of the thigh, this muscle group is engaged during some of the most common exercises: running, walking, cycling, and hiking. Your hamstrings can be pulled or torn from overuse, improper stretching, and neglecting warmups.

To stretch them out through a foam roller exercise:

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs extended. Place the foam roller underneath your hamstrings.

  1. Using your arms, lift your body so your weight is placed on the foam roller. Keep one leg extended and the other leg bent for stability.

  1. Slowly roll back and forth, stopping before the knee. Repeat this move for about 30 seconds.

  1. Repeat under your other leg.

If you suspect you’ve torn your hamstrings and are experiencing pain, swelling, or bruising, don’t perform this foam rolling exercise.

CALVES

The calf muscle is an area that frequently feels tight after a workout. Fortunately, foam rolling can help release some muscle knots that typical calf stretches can’t.

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs extended. Place the foam roller underneath your calves.

  1. Lift your body so your weight is resting on the foam roller. Cross one leg over the other for added pressure.

  1. Using your arms, slowly move your body back and forth so the foam tube rolls along your calves.

  1. Repeat this for 30 seconds, then switch legs.

Rolling out your calves can also reduce inflammation and alleviate pain caused by shin splints.

IT BAND

The IT Band is a tendon that runs from the hip to the knee along your outer thigh. Soreness in this area is extremely common in athletes, especially runners, and improper care can cause a painful injury called IT Band Syndrome.

To avoid this, make time for this foam rolling exercise:

  1. Start the exercise by laying on your side with the foam roller underneath your left thigh. Use your left hand or forearm for stability.

  1. Bend your right leg over your left leg so your right foot is placed flat on the floor.

  1. Slowly move your body back and forth over the foam roller, stretching the area from your hip to your knee.

  1. Repeat this for 30 seconds to 2 minutes, then switch sides.

QUADS

Your quads are the muscle group at the front of your thighs. They’re often engaged by strength exercises like squats and lunges. If you’re focusing on muscle building, this is where you may feel tension.

  1. Start by getting in a plank position with the foam roller under the front of your thighs.

  1. Using your forearms and core, slowly roll downwards until the foam tube reaches your knees.

  1. Slowly roll back upwards until the foam tube reaches your hips.

  1. Repeat this for 30 seconds.

If you want more focused pressure in certain areas, you can foam roll one leg at a time.

BACK

Muscle pain in your back can occur from many high-impact sports, lifting, muscle overuse, poor posture, and neck tension.

  1. Lie on your back so the foam roller is placed underneath your upper back. Bend your knees so your feet are flat on the ground.

  1. Cross your arms over your chest and lift yourself into a bridge position.

  1. Use your legs to move yourself back and forth so the foam tube rolls down to your mid-back and up towards your lower neck.

  1. Repeat for 30 seconds.

Foam rolling your back can also help realign your head, neck, and spine.

ROLL WITH P.E NATION

From alleviating muscle tension to preventing injury, foam rolling exercises that target your hips, legs, and back will help boost comfort and sports performance for any athlete. And, with P.E Nation’s expansive activewear collection including women’s leggings, workout tops and far more, you can look and feel your best.

Discover other sports recovery techniques and ways to cool down after a hard workout with blogs like Warm Up Routines & Cooldown Exercises - Do We Need Them? and Fit First Feb: Stretch Out With The Pilates Class. Then, to further your relaxation, dive into the world of meditation with Eliza Giles. If you’re looking for fashion inspiration, you can refer to our articles on how to find the perfect workout sets and additional gym outfits.

 

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Sources:

Cleveland Clinic. Should You Try Foam Rolling?

Cleveland Clinic. Iliotibial Band Syndrome.