Exercises with a Foam Roller
One of my biggest concerns as a runner is to not get injured.
Unfortunately I have had my share of bad experiences which has made me
more determined to pay more attention to injury prevention exercises.
A year ago a very good friend, who is also a fitness instructor,
introduced me to some foam roller stretching exercises. Now I always
stretching workout routine at the end of each running session. Extra 15
minutes have saved me from lots of worries and pain, so I can warmly
recommend this routine to any runner.
Lay on the top of the roller with the elbows under your shoulders.
Start the exercise above the knee then move up and down the hip slowly.
You can do the exercise with both legs and one leg at the time. I
prefer with one leg at a time because it allows me to do a complete
move. If you find a tender spot you should stop for about 20 seconds
IT Bands Exercises:
Lie on one side and place the foam roller beneath the outer thigh, near
the hip. Both hands are on the floor. You will keep the arms straight
during the exercise. Place the top leg in front of the other one. You
move slowly up and down, from the hip to the upper knee area. If you
find a tender spot, you stop for about 20 seconds. The exercise must be
done with both legs.
This is the best exercise for runners as it can prevent knee, back and
hips pain caused by tensioned muscles during running.
Place the foam roller under the calves, below the knee area. The palms
are positioned on the floor and the arms are straight. Lift your hips
and start moving slowly back and forward, from ankles to the knees. If
you find a sore spot, you should stop for 20 seconds then continue the
Sit on the foam roller with the palms on the floor. Keep the arms
straight as they support your entire body weight. With the feet up you
shift your weight slowly, up and down the buttocks. If you feel a sore
spot, stop for 20 seconds. This exercise demands some equilibrium.
The exercise starts similar with the calves exercises, only that the
foam roller is positioned above the knees. You move slowly, up and down
from the buttocks to the knees, until you feel the tension is relieved.
time to time I indulge myself with other myofascial foam roller
exercises which are practically like a free sports massage. I find them
extremely helpful for my neck and upper or lower back area. You can do
these anytime you feel your muscles are tight. Myofascial release helps
to relieve pain in the muscles, often determined by improper
stretching, injuries or lack of activity.
It's important to mention that you can use these stretching exercises
after any workout, not just running. The key is to find the sore spots
and stay in that position for about 20 seconds.
The most important detail is to not roll over bones or joints, so you
don’t risk unnecessary injuries.
At the beginning, some of these exercises may seem difficult, but in
time you will find them easier to do.
There are different foam rollers available (different lengths, widths,
densities and thicknesses). I use a softer 36 inches long foam roller.
It didn’t cost me that much (~ $20 dollars) and after months
it still works great.
After almost one year I can confirm that foam rolling exercises have
had a great impact on my running performances. So take my advice and
This article is written by Anna based on her experience as a runner. If
you want to find more useful details check also the treadmill
workouts section from her personal project, RunReviews.