Here are some tips on how to maximize your benefits when using a foam roller.
- Do not roll out your lower back. You jam the joints in your low back if you roll out this area, so instead use the foam roller around on the legs, hips, and glutes to release the tension in the muscles that connect to the lower back.
- Support your Spine. Do not flop like a dead fish on top of the foam roller. You need to support yourself at all times so you don’t put your spine in a vulnerable position.
- Roll SLOWLY. If you roll too fast your muscles will guard instead of being relaxed, and you won’t be able to compress and eliminate the trigger points and adhesions. Move slowly in painful areas and be mindful of what you’re feeling.
- Don’t stay in one spot for too long. Although you feel tension or pain in one part of your body, it could be resulting from imbalances in other parts of your body. Look for places on your body you haven’t rolled yet and make sure you get the whole circumference of your legs.
- When to Roll. Using a foam roller should be the first part of your warm up, before static stretching or even a light jog. Try and target all areas of your body to act just like a pre-warm up massage. Another quick session is beneficial after your work out to help remove the buildup of lactic acid.
- New areas to roll. It will be painful the first couple times you roll out a new area, but as long as it’s that “hurts so good” type of pain and not a sharp shooting or intense pain, go ahead and try these new areas. Rolling all the way up your iliac crest, which is the area on the side of your thigh all the way up the the level of your belly button. Some other areas are the backside of your armpit with your arm raised behind your head, or on the inside of your thigh.