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You know the drill. Aching knee, tight hip, quads locking up- time for the foam roller. Surprise surprise, the good old foam roller actually works best if you use it when you are niggle free, a few minutes a day can make all the difference. But, as human nature dictates, not many of us will adhere to such advice. However, for those wise ones out there with 5 minutes spare per day to devote to this magnificent injury prevention strategy, we have listed the 5 most worthwhile foam roller exercises.
One of the most common and debilitating injuries for serious runners is ITB syndrome. It is painful and can take ages to resolve. Preventing it from occurring it much smarter. If you have suffered from ITB syndrome in the past then regular ITB rolling is vital to manage the condition and prevent reoccurrence.
Lie on your side and place the roller under your thigh. If needed, cross your other foot over and put it on the floor. Build up over a week or so, it gets easier with time. Spend time rolling the outer hip and then down the IT band itself. If you come across a tight sore spot you can hold it at that point to achieve a deep prolonged massage. Flexing and extending your knee can also be beneficial, helping to restore the gliding ability between your ITB and quads.
Glute & Piriformis Trigger Point
Most of us have chronically tight glutes.
Lie on your back at a slightly oblique angle with the foam roller under your gluteal area and your leg extended. Bend one of your knees and rest it behind the other. Place hands on the floor for support as needed. Roll one side, and then repeat on the other side.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. To get as deep as possible, raise your body off the ground and use your other leg to push down on the leg being rolled. Roll up and down, holding when you find a sore spot. Repeat on the other side.
Thoracic Spine/Back Extension
A lot of us spend way too much time at the computer slouched over, it is a very unnatural position in which to spend our time and can lead to a myriad of injuries and problems.
Take it slowly and progress over time. Aim for 2-3 minutes rolling up and down the spine with your hands behind your head.
Tight quads wreak havoc on our hips, lower back, glutes, knees – it is an important muscle group.
Lie on your stomach with the roller under your thighs. Roll back and forth from hip to mid-thigh. Build up to 1-3 minutes of rolling each leg.
Make sure to visit a well-trained professional if you are in doubt about any of these exercises.