4 Foam Rolling Exercises for Newbies

Aches and pains are common when you're training. But that doesn't mean you have to live with them.

A foam roller, when used correctly, can massage away those aches in just 10 minutes a day.

Foam rolling is a form of self-myofascial release (SMR) stretching technique, which helps reduce muscle pain, corrects imbalances, increases range of motion, and prevents injury. Using tools like a foam roller improves blood circulation and breaks up scar tissue, relieving stiffness and soreness.

Roll your pains away with these four common foam-rolling exercises

Low Back and Traps

Lie on the floor face up and place the foam roller at the base of your spine. Apply pressure onto the roller as you work it from the base of your spine to just below the rib cage. Then, maneuver it from the base of the ribs to the upper back, spending extra time on areas that are particularly tight.

More: 4 Spine Lengthening Yoga Poses

Lats

As you wrap up rolling your upper back, turn onto your right side allowing the roller to work its way into your lat. Work from the armpit down, stopping at trigger points along the way. It's also a good idea to rock laterally, back and forth, to target trouble spots.

More: 4 Exercises to Sculpt Your Back

IT Band

Tightening in the Iliotibial band, or IT band, can cause a great deal of pain in the knee. Many people mistakenly assume the pain is originating from the knee, when in reality the IT band, which runs along the side of the leg from the knee to your pelvis, is causing the discomfort.

Combat this condition by using the foam roller to massage the IT band. Lying on your side, place the foam roller right above the knee and roll from the knee to your hip and back down. Like the lats, it's also possible to work the roller laterally to target specific pain points.

More: 2 Exercises to Beat IT-Band Pain

Calves

Running and other physical activity can cause overuse injuries that leave the calves in shambles. Break up scar tissue and deposits by placing the foam roller on your calf. Before applying pressure, lift your body up while pressing into the roller. Turn your leg to the right and left to target the lateral and anterior areas of the calf.

When it comes to foam rolling, a little bit goes a long way. If you have time, spend about 8 to 10 minutes on each body part before moving on to the next. If you're crunched for time, give yourself 10 minutes a day. It may be painful at first, but eventually the soreness will subside.

More: Chisel Your Calves

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