Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Foam Rolling and You: A Guide for Beginners

Since I hurt my IT Band (doesn't that sound like something you call Geek Squad for?) several people have recommended foam rolling, including runners with a lot more experience than I have as well as my Physical Therapist.

I was not familiar with foam rolling, and I thought some of my readers might not be either. No, foam rolling is not the latest dance craze that's sweeping Europe. Foam rolling
is "a Self-Myofascial release (SMR) technique that is used by athletes and physical therapists to inhibit overactive muscles. This form of stretching utilizes the concept of autogenic inhibition to improve soft tissue extensibility, thus relaxing the muscle and allowing the activation of the antagonist muscle."


In English, I believe that translates to "sit/lie on this here Styrofoam cylinder, moving so that it is rolled across the injured area of the body, kind of like a massage except not as expensive or relaxing."

Make sense? No. Ok. Let's take a look at some pictures demonstrating the correct and incorrect use of the foam roller.

Here's an exercise for the all-important IT Band:

Got it? Good.

Here's one for your hamstrings:

Now you're already to get rolling.

If you don't think you're ready yet, here are some sites with actual information about foam rolling:

Foam Roller Exercises for Easing Tight Muscles

The (almost) Magical Foam Roller

I've only been at it a week, but it seems to be helping.

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