Is Foam Rolling Your Workout’s Missing Link?

Anyone who has done a fitness class with me knows that my love for the foam roller runs deep. Foam rolling is a form of self myo-facial release – like a deep tissue massage! It has transitioned its way from professional sports into every day fitness practice to prevent and release muscle tightness.

Sounds pretty good right? We asked Steph Prem, Winter Olympian, Pilates guru and founder of Premium Performance Fitness and Pilates Studio and Health Retreats to share exactly why we should be foam rolling and how to roll like a pro…

Foam Rolling Benefits

1) It feels soo good! Like a firm massage – it’s good pain I swear and the best thing is, you can do it to yourself, for free. By applying pressure to specific tight spots and trigger points on your body, you are able to aid in the recovery of muscles – making them healthy, flexible and ready to perform at a moment’s notice.

2) Cellulite be gone. Now we’re talking! Foam rolling improves cell recovery and blood circulation of your fascia (your connective tissue) muscles, tendons and ligaments, which in turn rids the body of cellulite. Say goodbye expensive firming creams and just keep on rolling ladies.

3) It lengthens your muscles. The quadriceps are often the major “OUCH” spot for the foam roller. Exercise and everyday movement to the legs can make them tight, shortened and in turn limit the function and range of motion in the hips, whilst adding stress to our lower back. Sound familiar? This is why foam rolling is great as a maintenance tool to flush your legs. I suggest rolling every couple of days.

4) It’s the perfect warm-up and warm-down. Foam rolling (in a perfect world) should be performed before and after your workouts. As a dynamic warm-up, it gets the blood flowing to the areas that need it most pre-cardio and strength training. As a cool-down, it’s a great tool for flushing out the toxins and blood that has built up during your workout. It also helps move new oxygenated blood through the muscles and speed up the recovery process.

5) It can help shape the perfect butt — perky peachy butt in, sad saggy bum out! Rolling can loosen up the ITB (that sore muscle down the side of your legs) the quads, the glutes and the calves, which is important to maximise your range of motion. Basically foam rolling allows you to lunge and squat deeper, in order to really target and tone the butt.

Now you know the benefits, let’s get rolling!

How to foam roll to increase performance

As mentioned above, the looser your legs, the more range of motion you have – resulting in a more effective workout and maximising results. Hello long toned legs!

My favourite way to “warm-up” or “cool down” after a training session is to start rolling out the front of my thighs.

– Place the roller under your thighs and about an inch or two below your hip joint.

– Use your elbows to pull yourself forward and roll all the way down to about an inch above your kneecap.

Duration: Repeat the forward and backwards rolling motion for at least 10-15 times.
Tip: You want to stay on the ‘big’ muscles and avoid rolling directly on bone and hip joints.

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Now roll your ITB and hip flexors (warning: this may hurt) to lengthen and improve their mobility.

– Move onto your side.

– Again, stay about an inch above your knee and an inch below your hip and roll with pressure at least. When you feel a tight spot, work on it in a forward and backwards motion – and don’t forget to breathe into the tight spots.

Duration: Roll 10 times.

Tip: If the pressure is too much, take the top leg off and rest it on the mat in front of you – keeping the bottom leg straight – and just work through the same motion without the weight of the second leg. Build up to full pressure.

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Happy rolling. Your increased mobility and new perky bum will thank you for it. I promise!

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