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There is no need to suffer from chronic aches and pains.
And simply taking time off isn't enough to get rid of the pain.
While rest is important, self massage or foam rolling is another important part of recovery.
Any good workout program should start with foam rolling because it inhibits the tight muscles and gets them to relax so you can stretch them.
Self-myofascial release or foam rolling allows you to relax muscles, reduce pain and restore muscles to their normal length-tension relationships and function.
Self-myofascial release (SMR) does this by “autogenic inhibition.” Basically what that means is that the pressure you apply with your hands or a foam rolling tool (roller, ball or such) on the tight muscle forces the muscle’s own receptors to relax it.
Not sure you need to include foam rolling in your routine? Check out these benefits:
The basic guidelines to foam rolling are – find areas of tightness and hold on those areas until pain lessens a bit and use the smallest hardest tool you can to dig out those areas.
In this course, you will learn techniques to roll out from head to toe. You will learn how to use different SMR tools so that no matter what you have on hand, you can always roll out and loosen up. We will also teach you which tools are best to use to reach certain areas of tightness.
After this course, you will be able to start alleviating those minor aches and pains!
Learn the basics of self-myofascial release and tips to help you get the most out of your foam rolling routine.
Picking the right tool is dependent on a couple of different things. First, you must consider what you have available. Second, you must consider what area you are rolling out. And third, you must consider how much pressure you can handle. This video will discuss some common tools and when to use them.
If you have wrist and elbow pain then you need to try the moves in this Section. This first move targets our forearms which can often be tight from sitting at a computer all day.
Learn to roll out your arms (triceps and biceps) using a trigger point roller. If your arms are tight, they may be contributing to your elbow pain.
This video shows another way to target your triceps using a trigger point roller.
From sitting hunched over a computer all day, we often suffer from neck, shoulder and upper back pain. Here is another great move to alleviate that pain! Also, check out the handout below for more great exercises to alleviate pain.
You can also roll out your upper back using a large foam ball. This is great for beginners that can't handle the pressure of a smaller harder ball.
When we sit all day at a computer, our back is constantly in flexion. This move works on your thoracic extension (aka the opposite of what you do all day) to loosen up your mid and upper back and improve your posture.
Tight lats can also be a problem caused by sitting all day and can contribute to our bad posture. This move, using a roller, will loosen them up and get them ready to work so you can do more pull ups!
This easy to make tool is a great way to roll out right along your spine. It can loosen up knots between your shoulders as well as ease pain in your low back.
In this video is one quick foam rolling move to target both your chest and your back to save you time. It targets numerous areas that are commonly tight and may put you at higher risk for shoulder injury.
If you have a larger ball or foam ball to roll out with, this is a great way to target the muscles of your chest.
There are a variety of ways to roll out even if you don't have trigger point tools. A ball or even a dog toy can be used against a wall to roll out your chest. Here's how to do it.
While a ball is the easiest way to target the muscles of your chest, if you only have a roller, you can still roll them out. Here's how!
Low back pain? Then this is the move for you. This SMR move helps you roll out many of the tight areas that may be causing you low back pain. And below is a link to exercises that may also help ease your pain by activating your core and glutes. Rolling out is important to loosen the tight muscles, but if you also don't strengthen the weak muscles, then your pain will never truly go away.
If you are a runner who also has a desk job, rolling out your TFL is key to preventing pain and injury in your low back, hips and even your knees. You can use a roller or even a smaller, harder ball to roll out this muscle. Pick a tool that applies pressure you can handle.
If a smaller ball applies too much pressure to trigger points in your glutes and hips, you can also use a larger foam ball. While foam rolling our glutes and hips is super important so is getting the glutes activated. Because we sit all day, they are generally under-active. Check out the link below for some great mini band exercises to strengthen and activate your glutes.
While the best way to dig into your glutes is with a ball or even a dog toy, you can use a roller if that is what you have on hand or if that is all the pressure you can handle. The move in this video will help you target your glutes as much as you can with the roller.
Tight quads and hips can lead to knee pain. While a ball can be a great way to roll out the muscles right above the knee, it isn't the easiest way to roll out the length of your quads. This SMR move with the roller is a great way to target any tight spots down the front of your legs.
Just like the smaller and harder the ball, the smaller and harder the roller, the more you can dig in. Here's how to use a smaller roller to alleviate the tightness in your quads.
If you have low back pain and sit all day, your hamstrings may be tight. And it is hard to truly dig into the hamstring with a roller on the ground. One of the best ways to release knots in the hamstring (especially right under your glutes) is with a ball on a box step, table, bench or chair.
The trigger point roller is another great way to roll out your hamstring as long as you use it while seated up off the ground. You can apply more pressure when you roll out your hamstring on a bench or chair.
If you are just starting out, the roller may be enough pressure to dig out your hamstrings. Here are some great techniques to get the most out of the roller if you don't have other tools available.
If you are a runner, you need to pay special attention to your IT Band. This area is tight on many runners and can lead to knee and hip pain. Since the IT Band can be very sensitive at the beginning, the video above will show you a few different ways to roll out using a roller.
If your knees buckle in when you squat, walk or run, if you have pain in your lower body, your adductors may be tight. Here is a great way to roll out your inner thighs with a roller. You will also want to try the workout below to strengthen your glutes and prevent your knees from caving in.
Just like using a smaller harder ball, the trigger point roller digs into tight muscles more than the traditional roller. It is also a great tool to use on the inside of your thigh just above your knee.
Shin Splints? Knee pain? Foot and ankle pain? Then you need to roll out your shins. Make sure to target the muscles of your shin and not your shin bone. Also, if you are suffering from Shin Splints or Plantar Fasciitis, you may want to check out the handout below.
Sometimes it is easier to dig into your shins when you can press your bodyweight down into a tool. While you can't dig into specific spots as well as with a ball, it does allow you to use your weight to apply more pressure.
Here is another great way to roll out your shins and even a great way to hit your peroneals (down the outside of your shins). The trigger point roller allows you to use more of your bodyweight while digging in more than with your standard roller.
If you have a tendency to walk, run or stand on the inside of your feet or if your knees buckle in, you may need to roll out the outside of your lower legs. Tightness here can cause knee and ankle pain. Here is a great way to target points of tightness on either side of your lower legs.
If you are a runner, athlete or even a lifter looking to improve lifts such as the squat, you need to roll out your calves. (You especially need to roll out your calves if you wear high heels!) One of the best ways to target trigger points in the calves is with a tennis ball.
The roller is also a great tool to use to roll out your calves. In this video you will learn a couple of different ways to apply even more pressure to tight spots and help the muscles relax.
The trigger point roller is another great tool to use on your calves. Just like with the ball, though, you will need a block or a stack of books to place the roller on so that you can apply more pressure.
If you wear dress shoes or have Plantar Fasciitis, you need to roll out the bottom of your foot. Rolling out and taking care of the bottom of your foot can help prevent pain all the way up your body.
After rolling everything out, you must stretch and activate. The moves in this Section will do just that. In this video are 5 Bridge Exercises that will open everything up after sitting at a computer all day. These moves will stretch your chest and open up your hips as well as activate your core and glutes. Below is a handout explaining each movement.
While all 5 Bridge Exercises can be included as part of a warm up, if you need something quick, try this "yoga" sequence (it is also included in the handout from Lesson 35). This "yoga" sequence will stretch you out and get everything loose from head to toe. For more great stretches and activation moves, check out some of the links below.
My name is Cori and I am the owner of Redefining Strength in Orange County, Ca. I started my journey in the fitness industry after playing tennis for a nationally ranked Division I team. Since becoming a trainer, I've competed in power lifting competitions, becoming the 2011 Massachusetts/Rhode Island Raw State Champion, as well as races, mud runs and kettlebell competitions.
Now all I want to do is share the strength and empowerment I’ve found through working out with anyone and everyone that I can!
That is why I founded Redefining Strength. I want to help everyone become healthier, stronger, more empowered individuals.
Whether you're just starting your fitness journey or an athlete who's been competing for years, I'll help you take your fitness and mental strength to the next level!
NASM CPT, CES, PES, NASM Fitness Nutrition Specialist, Training For Warriors, NASM Kettlebell Specialist, NASM Senior Fitness Specialist, SPIN Instructor, Battling Ropes Level 1