Here it is! Part 2 of my favorite foam rolling exercises. Check them out and let me know what you think!
3. Foot Massager – depending on how durable your foam roller is (and how good you can balance…), you can use this as a wonderful foot massager! Unless you are in the circus, you’ll want to find either the back of a tall chair or a wall to help balance you while you stand on the roller. For less pressure, you can play around with just having one foot on the roller, while the other foot remains on the ground. Try to roll the insides and outsides of each foot on the roller. Once you’re standing on the roller, keep your core engaged and carefully roll forwards and back on your feet. There’s really no right or wrong way to do this, unless you face plant, so find what feels “best” for you. If you’re really going for it, once you’ve been standing on the roller for a bit, try lifting one foot completely off, so all the weight goes into one foot. This can be pretty intense, so listen to your body and try not to face plant…
4. Supported Core Work – for those of us blessed with tight hips, lordosis, and tight hamstrings, ab exercises that include being on one’s back with legs up in the air and waving around can be quite difficult, uncomfortable, and sometimes harmful to our bodies. If we are tight or weak in certain areas (such as the low back, hamstrings, or hips), we may have a hard time engaging our cores and instead, start to tense in our necks, low-mid backs, and hip flexors just to get through some leg lifts. Using the roller as support will not only help release our upper backs and necks, but it will also enable us to better engage the core muscles we were originally trying to target! Lie on your back, with knees bent in, and roller nearby. Use either your arms or core to float your bottom off of the floor and slide the roller underneath, so your sacrum is supported on top of the roller. Keep your knees bent in until you’ve found a good spot for your hips. To test, when you point your knees toward the ceiling, your low abs should fire and your spine should feel long and straight. You do NOT want your butt to feel like it’s falling off the edge of the roller, or like you’re sticking your butt out – this will create MORE tension in the back. From here, there are plenty of options! You can do all sorts of core exercises, including double leg lower/lift movements, scissors with bent or straight legs, tick-tocks (legs up toward ceiling and tip side to side to engage obliques – you’ll also get a hip massage), or you can just lay there and breathe. DO make sure you are aware of your upper back and shoulders, if you tip your legs far enough away, they will still tense. This is not a foolproof position with the roller, but it definitely helps one to relax the upper and lower back while moving your legs around.
For more ideas, poke around online and/or check out one of the many books now available about foam rolling – fellow FitPro Elite, Jessica Diaz, suggests this one: http://www.splits59.com/blog/?p=5513
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