Fun with foam rollers – 12 things you can do with your foam roller!
- Alleviate boredom: chase the dog around the house with it (or small children, preferably your own) – childish but very amusing
- Use the Force: Pretend you’re a Jedi and the foam roller is your Light Saber
- Be Tom Hanks: Tie several together to make a floating raft
- Protect your car: cut large rollers in half and line a section your garage where you would open your door to prevent dings and scratches
- Summer fun: Pool toy
- Be a Jetson: 2 small foam rollers tied together makes a great pretend jet pack
- Ski: 1 long foam roller attached to each foot could work for both water and snow
- Art Deco bedside tables: small foam rollers stood vertically each side of the bed
- Bike park: 2 large foam rollers with a small gap in the middle to allow for your bike to cruise straight in and park
- Improve your batting skills: Use your foam roller as a replacement for a baseball bat – it’s much harder to strike out!
- Move heavy objects: Lie a couple of foam rollers on the ground and roll whatever object you need to move over them. It’ll stop you straining your back from heavy lifting.
- Give the gift of health: Everyone could use a foam roller in their lives. If you’re out of gift ideas for your friends and family this Christmas, grab a foam roller! Happiness is guaranteed.
NB: As clever as these uses are, they are meant for fun. Roll responsibly.
Ok, so perhaps you might also like some serious, helpful information about how you can use foam rollers for their intended purpose – stretching and massage.
There’s a bunch of information out there on the inter-web (see our how-to videos here) on how to use a foam roller.
How to roll effectively
1. Relax When you roll, you’re essentially aiming to release tension of the soft tissues (so muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments, etc). Soft tissue needs time to release and when using a roller, soft tissue needs to be relaxed, not tense. By relaxed, I mean you can’t be rolling so hard that you’re tensing the very area you’re trying to release. It’s completely futile, don’t waste your time. If you find this the case for you, reduce the pressure or weight you have in contact with the roller.
2. Slow down If you try and sneak in a cheeky 5 minute roll at the end of your training or session, you might as well not bother. As mentioned above, soft tissue needs time to release. You’ll experience far less pain and a much more effective rolling session once you slow down. Be the tortoise, not the hare.
3. No pain, no gain There is only a smidgen of truth to this when it comes to rolling. Foam rollers can be brutal and incredibly painful but you can avoid unnecessary pain by following the golden rule of EFFECTIVE foam rolling – refer to point #1.
4. Breathe As tempting as it is to hold your breath, especially as many areas can be tender, you’re not doing yourself any favours turning into a smurf. If you find yourself doing this, refer to point #1.
Most important areas for athletes to roll
1. Quadriceps: This is the big muscle group at the front of the thigh. It helps straighten the leg by extending the knee and flexes the hip (brings knee towards chest). The muscle group responsible for the majority of your cycling workload.
2. Illiotibial Band (ITB): This dense, fibrous tissue runs along the outside of the thigh and helps stabilse the knee joint. Due to the bio-mechanics of body positioning while riding, this area is very susceptible to tightening up.
3. Gluteals: Your butt muscles – very powerful. As a group, the glutes help stabilse the pelvis and maintain proper leg alignment. Combined with hamstrings, contributes to a significant amount of your power output when cycling.
4. Hamstrings: The large muscle group at the back of the thigh. It does the opposite to the Quadricep group – flexes the knee to bend your leg and brings your heel towards your butt and extends your hip (moves your leg backwards).
5. Calves: Two-headed muscle at the back of the lower leg. Plantar flexes the foot (think of how your foot works when using the accelerator in your car – you plant your foot down. Same goes to help you peddle.
6. Thoracic: Your upper back. Being bent over on a bike for sometime puts strain on your upper back and neck (always looking for pesky cars) so it is important to release this area sufficiently after a ride.
Need to get your roll-on?
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org by 5pm Monday December 16th to score yourself a large foam roller for only $60! Bargain! We only have 5 available at this price, so first in, first served!
Make sure you this article to take advantage of these awesome deals! Happy rolling!
Holly, Owner/ Remedial Massage Therapist, Bodyline Health Int.