Robin M. Gillespie is a FitPro with over 20 years of experience and writer of the health and fitness blog “Know More, Weigh Less“. She’s here to give you the run down on why you should be foam rolling and provide you with a simple workout to strengthen and tone your body.
What is Foam Rolling?
The foam roller is used to perform self myofascial release (SFM) or self massage to help relieve muscle soreness and enhance flexibility. The roller can also be used during a dynamic warm-up before any activity for SFM, balance training and core exercises.
Hip Self Myofascial Rolling
- Hip SFM stretches the hips while releasing tension from the muscles.
- Sit on top of roller, both feet on floor.
- Place right ankle on left thigh (or lower if uncomfortable) then shift weight towards right hip, right hand on floor.
- Roll up and down the hip for 30 to 60 seconds.
- Repeat on the other side.
Bridge on Foam Roller
- Bridging on the foam roller strengthens core, activates hamstrings and glutes. The slightly unstable surface adds more intensity to a basic exercise.
- In a supine position, place heels on roller hip width apart.
- Engage core and glutes, exhale as you lift hips up.
- Hold for 2 to 3 seconds, slowly return to starting position.
- For more intensity, perform the bridge with one foot on the roller. Continue for 60 to 90 seconds.
Quadriceps Self Myofascial Rolling to Push up Position
- This exercises combines SFM for quadriceps and hip flexors and strengthens upper body and core.
- Begin in prone position on forearms, top of thighs on roller, feet off floor.
- Engage core, move forward using upper body until roller is right above the knees.
- Press up to pushup position leading with right arm and place balls of feet on floor.
- Hold for 2 to 3 seconds then come back down to roller and forearms.
- Roll back to starting position. Repeat leading with the left arm. Continue for 60 to 90 seconds.
- To modify, place the feet on the floor and lift the thighs off the roller to a plank for five seconds. More advanced exercisers can add a push-up.
Hip Extension on Foam Roller
- The hip extension strengthens the core and glutes. The roller adds balance to this basic exercise.
- Kneel on roller, place hands on floor, hands underneath the chest. You also do this exercise on the forearms. Feet are off the floor.
- Extend right leg in back of you, foot flexed.
- Contract the abs and glutes, lift the leg straight up.
- Slowly lower the leg down without touching the floor. Complete 30 to 60 seconds on right leg before repeating with the left leg. To modify, keep one foot one the floor at all times.
Walkout with Push up on Foam Roller
- The walkout with push up on the foam roller dynamically stretches hamstrings, strengthens upper body and core. This is an advanced exercise!
- Stand in back of roller, feet hip width apart. Hinge at hip, placing hands on roller shoulder width apart.
- Engage core, roll roller forward until in push up position. You can adjust your feet if you need to.
- Perform a push-up.
- Walk feet in towards roller.
- To modify, roll the roller forward until you feel a slight stretch in the hamstrings, then roll back to starting position and stand up. The feet do not move during the modified exercise.
- Stand up, repeat for 60 to 90 seconds.
Ready to Go!
After completing the warm up your body will be ready for a step running workout, 5K hike, kettle bell routine or any activity that you love!
Robin and Rochelle are wearing functional fitness accessories by HipS-sister.
Follow Robin on Twitter – @phillyfitandfab
Photographs by Sam Melendez