5 great ways to use a foam roller in your workout

Have you gotten yourself a foam roller yet? You should! These are GREAT workout tools to help yourself in those #optimalhealth goals!  We talked about why to use a foam roller in a previous post, so check that out first, then read on for our 5 top tips!  As always, check with your doctor before performing any of the exercises mentioned here!  We want you to be safe and healthy as you pursue #optimalhealth!

Hamstrings

Place a foam roller on the floor, and sit with your right leg on the roller and left leg bent on the floor. Place both hands behind your body with your fingers pointing away from you. Roll the foam roller up and down between your knee to just under your butt. Stop where you feel discomfort and hold for 30-60 seconds. Switch legs and repeat.

Shoulder Blades

Lie face up on floor with foam roller under upper back at tops of shoulder blades, legs bent, feet flat, and arms crossed over chest. Press into roller and raise hips off floor to start. Move backward until roller reaches midback, then reverse the movement. Continue, rolling slowly along upper back, shoulder blades, and midback for 1 minute.

Sets: Reps: 8

Dumbell Bench Press

Hit your chest, arms, and shoulders with this variation to the bench press—the roll adds instability so more muscles engage, and also allows your elbows to drop lower so you’ll get a greater range of motion. (A) Grab a pair of heavy dumbbells (at least 10 pounds). Lie down atop the foam roller the long way, so the cylinder is along your spine and supporting your head, and hold the dumbbells out to the sides, elbows bent so your upper arms are in the same line. (B) Press your arms straight up so your hands hover above your chest and the dumbbell ends come close together but don’t touch. Resist the weight as you lower your arms back down. Do 15 slow reps. (For a greater focus on your triceps, keep your elbows in close to your body.)

IT Band

Lying on your side, similar to a side plank position, place the roller on the outside of your thigh just below your hip.Place your top arm on your hip, and using your top leg for stability, roll the length of your thigh, stopping just above the knee. Go slowly, and do not roll over the knee joint. Keep your bottom leg lifted, or lower it down to the floor if you can. Chances are high that this move will be painful, which is a sign that you really need to do this.If you find an especially tender point, try rolling forward and back to release this spot.  Roll for 30-60 seconds, then switch sides.

 

Back/Trapeizus

Place roller at base of spine. Lean back. Work your way up and down roller stopping on any hot spots. Be careful about applying too much pressure to your spine. When the roller reaches your trapezius, arch your back and hold. With the roller beneath your trapezius, give yourself a hug. Hold. Lift your arms straight in front of you. Hold. Alternate between self-hugs and raising your arms.

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