Tip for New Runners: Foam Roller

(This is reposted from last year for new readers of my blog. If you are a new runner, I really suggest buying a Foam Roller. It does wonders!)

I wanted to provide some photos of the wondrous Foam Roller. I firmly believe everyone–especially Runners–should own one of these! I use it every single night. It takes less than 10 minutes to do all positions and I always feel better afterward.

What is a Foam Roller? It’s a dense foam that when used acts like a deep tissue massage. Using it on a regular basis can prevent common injuries from training and working out. If there’s a certain spot that is particularly sore or tight, roll over it slowly for about 10 seconds at a time and it will loosen up the tissue. How the Foam Roller works is that you use your body weight to apply pressure on the sore spots.

There are different densities you can purchase. The one I used at the gym was too soft for me. The one I use at home is very firm and dense. It’s recommended that if you are a muscular person, use a denser foam.

I know it’s a tad dark, but the foam roller is the black thing underneath me. Here’s the first position:

Working the Shins: great for fixing “Shin Splints”.

Shins

Working the Quads: great for runners AND cyclists. Michael does this one every night and he commutes by bike to work.

Quads

Roll back and forth as slowly as you can and really feel the Foam Roller working your muscles.

More Quads

Next, work your calves. It takes some ab work and strength in your arms but do what you can and take a break if you need to.

Calves

Tight calves are another danger of cycling. Somehow I managed to make a ridiculous face in every one of these photos. Lame!

Next do your hamstrings:

Hamstrings

The most BRUTAL of positions is working the IT Band. Ugh.

IT Band

Finally, if you ever suffer from back pain, I’ve read on various websites that the Foam Roller can improve that as well. Fat Kitty decided to “help” with the Foam Rolling and strategically placed himself in almost every photo. πŸ˜‰

Back

Finally, I have a new stretch that I’ve been doing recently and it really helps my legs.

Stretching

Here’s an internet picture to give you a better look at what the actual roller looks like:

To read more about the Foam Roller, check out the Running Times Magazine article Here. I bought my Foam Roller off Amazon.com for about $15. It was the best $15 I ever spent.

QUESTION: Do you use a Foam Roller? How has it helped you? Also, do you have any recommendations on yoga poses for runners?

9 Responses

  1. I love my foam roller! And my husband has chronic back pain and has been off his pain meds for 2 weeks since using the roller on his back. I swear I don’t know how I lived without this thing for so long.

  2. Since your original post, foam rollers have gotten even better. Try one of the new ones from RumbleRoller (rumbleroller.com). They’re much more like a deep tissue massage.

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