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How to Use a Foam Roller

You've Probably Been Foam Rolling Wrong the Whole Time


The Ranch Malibu is known for its celebrity clientele and rather strict approach to wellness (they famously provide guests with six almonds during hikes on their retreat, no more, no less). So who better to go to for advice when comes to our fitness needs? Professional hottie/instructor, Davey Fisher, gave POPSUGAR Middle East tips on how to make sure you're getting the most out of your exercise routine and thankfully, it doesn't involve upping your workload.

If you want to avoid injury and prevent pain, the handy item can treat skeletal muscle immobility and pain by relaxing contracted muscles, improve blood and lymphatic circulation, and stimulate the stretch reflex in muscles. So if you've been nervous about reaching for that strange object in the corner the gym or have never had a clue how to use the one which mostly stays under your bed, here's what you need to know:


If you've never done it, get on it now!

"In order to make sure we get the most out of our muscles, there is undoubtedly some routine maintenance involved. Healthy muscles regularly need to be worked, stretched, stimulated, and squeezed to keep us healthy, fit, and strong. The longevity of your physical framework depends on it.

"Muscles work best when they are mobile and 'stretchy' ....this can allow for higher contraction potential, better range of motion, blood supply, healing, recovery, and reduced general stiffness. Foam rolling is often regarded as a critical part of maintaining muscle mobility and overall health."

Muscles=Pizza

"Think of the muscle in your body like pizza dough; if you let it sit, it tends to ball up and get stiff. A rolling pin is often needed in this case. The rolling pin, in this example, is like a foam roller for your muscles."

It helps you work on muscles you can't otherwise reach

"Regular foam rolling helps to lengthen muscle fibers, loosen fascia, and stimulate nerves on a very deep level; reaching layers of musculature that often can't be reached doing static stretching. Most predominantly, the deep muscular effects of roam rolling also trigger neural responses in muscle to allow it to relax. A regularly stimulated muscle has more laxity and blood flow than a dormant one. Simply put; this allows it to work better and stretch farther than a dormant one."

Focus on the big muscle groups

"To maximize foam rolling productivity, make sure to always hit the biggest and most prominent muscle groups. Most of these muscular areas are anchored around the hips. Examples include the glutes, quads, and hamstrings are a primary focus."

Yes, it's supposed to be uncomfortable

"To target the glutes (both Maximus and medius), sit on top of the foam roller (as seen above) with one leg perched across the knee of the other, and lean into that side. Press into the hip on that respective side, and roll this portion for at least 20-30 seconds before switching sides. It won't always feel comfortable, but it's worthwhile: this area can be rolled to effectively treat sciatica, pirifirmis syndrome, and even back pain."

Rolling for 10 seconds just won't do...

"Next: the hamstrings. Lots of issues related to alignment, posture, and lower back issues can be traced to tight hamstrings. Sit on the roller (as seen above) and press the roller into the backs of the thighs while rolling the length between the back of the knee and hips. For a deeper effect, do one side at a time. 30-60 seconds should do the trick!"

Don't use all of your body weight if it hurts too much

"Flip it over and lay face down, the front of the thighs on the roller. Time for the quads. From the elbows, support yourself in a plank position. Let the roller move from the upper thigh to a few inches above the knee while pressing along the lateral and medial portions of the quads. The quads tend to be extra sensitive, so don't use all of your body weight if you don't have to! Your knee health depends on flexible quads, so roll them regularly!"

Don't forget the rest!

"Obviously, you can and should regularly roll much more than what you see above: the calves, lats, and even the back to name a few. For each area, spend 30 seconds or more before moving onto the next muscle group. The more, the better! Just make sure to roll the muscles while avoiding bony areas, joints, and any questionable places."

These areas are a no-go

"Two places to leave alone: the knee and The IT band (see last picture below) Your knees are not muscles, and contrary to popular opinion, neither is your IT band! For knee pain, try taking a spin class a couple times per week and rolling the quads three times per week. You might be surprised at how quick and effective this can be for alleviating everyday knee pain.

"If you have IT band issues, roll the lateral portion of your quad, medial hamstring, and glute-medius.

"Loosening these areas will effectively reduce tension put on the IT band that can cause pain, tingling, and tightness. Also you might consider going easy on the distance running, especially on concrete. This can exacerbate IT band flare ups."

You've got to put the time in

"It's hard to overdo foam rolling, so add it into you're pre-workout and/or post routine at least twice per week- you're muscles will thank you!"

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