Foam Rolling is my friend

Gooood food yesterday!

Breakfast… oats! With

  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 cup oats

Topped with

  • almond butter
  • coconut
  • walnuts
  • MIL’s homemade beach plum jelly

Lunch – leftover pasta and a nectarine

And dinner was a sweet potato with baked beans, and roasted zucchini on the side! Erm LOVED the sweet potato/baked beans combo!

After dinner I had a nice, long foam rolling session on my legs. My run on Sunday left some killer trigger points in them… during the day I could actually feel one with my hand in my right thigh, it was so painful. I realized that sometimes I go to the gym just for the foam roller, so I decided to fork over the $25 at Target and pick one up for home!

You really can’t overestimate the importance of foam rolling. Here’s a little something I put together for my Fitness Group at work about it.

When we get sore, and we get “knots” in our legs, shoulders, back, etc, those “knots” are called Trigger Points. They are caused by all kinds of factors, including repetitive motion, strain, trauma, or poor posture; dietary, emotional stress, and environmental stress. They can affect the way you stand, the way you walk, the way you move in general. They can also cause imbalance in the way your muscles work, and trigger points in one place can cause pain in another place. For example, a trigger point in your shoulder can cause headaches! They are also full of lactic acid and toxins that you should get out of your body.

Rolling the muscles in your legs helps improve tissue quality by reducing over-activity in certain muscles and getting rid of trigger points, and that helps improve function. IT band syndrome comes from bad function in hips and core, so improving function and rebalancing the neuromuscular system makes it go away.

(Sources: Here and my trainer-friend, who proofread this for me 🙂 )

Rolling my legs and doing one-legged squats and deadlifts with my shoes off have been a huge help in battling my IT Band Syndrome! I would highly recommend going to a trainer and being evaluated for what may be causing problems for you, but this is what has worked for me.

Below are some tips for rolling your legs and pictures of how I get at various muscles in my legs. NOTE: I am not a trainer, or any kind of fitness professional. I am just showing what works for me. Also, you can click on the pics to make them bigger. A big thank you to Erm for taking them 🙂

When rolling your legs:

  1. Roll until you get to a tender, painful spot (or, a “knot”).
  2. Rest on the roller for 30 seconds, or until you feel the pressure subside in the trigger point.
  3. Try not to flex your muscle, this works better if the muscle is relaxed
  4. Remember to BREATHE – Oxygen needs to get to your muscles!
  5. Expect this to hurt during the rolling, but it feels better afterwards. You may become short of breath, make funny faces, or want to cry.
  6. But don’t be a hero. The inner and outer thighs tend to be very, very painful toward the bottom in the beginning. Work your way toward that.
  7. When you release toxins into your blood stream, be sure to drink lots of water to flush them from your body. The more toxins you eliminate, the healthier you’ll be!

Calves

Side Thigh (holding yourself up with your hand instead of your forearm lets you dig deeper into your thigh)

Side Hip (On this one, I find that being lower down helps me dig in. Play around with it for yourself)

Quads

Front Hip

Inner Thigh

Piriformis

And there you have it! A deep-tissue massage also works well, but this is cheaper and you can do it at home, or at your gym. Let me know if you have any questions! Happy rolling!

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6 Responses to Foam Rolling is my friend

  1. I can’t thank you enough for this post!!! Very informative! I really appreciate the photos – I thought it was going to be awkward, but it actually seems very doable.

  2. Kelly says:

    I just finished foam rolling for the last 30 minutes. It hurts SO good! haha! I am sweating…I swear it is a workout in itself! 😉

  3. Yay! I am OBSESSED with my roller. I lay on it length-wise and get all the neck kinks out!!! Thanks you, also for the sweet comment on my blog – always appreciated!!!

  4. Ooo never thought about drinking more water to get rid of the toxins released- good tip!!

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