Stretching & Recovery PART 3: Foam rolling + Therapy ball

Foam Rolling & Therapy ball

Now this is my favourite!!

Myofascial release using a foam roller or therapy balls (similar to a hockey ball) allows athletes to get into areas of extreme tightness, knots or adhesions by applying bodyweight to the roller. This will assist your muscles in returning to normal function, you will aid your recovery and greatly improve your range of motion.

Myofascial release is the best thing athletes can do who may have never stretched in the past, now I’m not saying it will be fun, it will be very uncomfortable the first few times but with consistent rolling you will notice a dramatic difference to your body, it’s like giving yourself a deep tissue massage.

To begin, I would recommend starting with any areas you are super tight or sore and roll at least 3 times a week. Eventually you should have a full body routine that you can use as maintenance 2-3 times a week or to help relax muscles after a particularly gruelling workout.

A few things you should know:

– Be aware of referral pain, sometimes when rolling one area you will feel some sensations in another part of your leg or arm, this is nothing to be worried about as long as the feeling is just uncomfortable

– It will be super uncomfortable! Some may even say painful, but stick with it I promise it gets better

– Releasing muscles and breaking up adhesions will allow proper movement patterns and pain free movements, be prepared to lift heavier, run faster and set new PR’s cause your body will be functioning at its optimal level

– Roll super slow. If you find an area that is particularly tight and sensitive pause on that point for a while and try to relax there. When the tension is gone move to another area

– Spend at least 2 minutes rolling each area/side

 

Here are my favourite myofascial releases:

UPPER BACK– using therapy balls lie on back and place one ball under each shoulder. Bend the elbows, hands to the sky. Move hands down, then overhead. Moving around on the balls as you feel is needed. Intensity will often differ from left to right

PECTORALS/ FRONT SHOULDER – using therapy balls, lie face down with ball under the collar bone. Place the same side hand behind your back, palm facing up

QUADS– place roller near crease of hip. Complete one side at a time place other leg on top crossing the ankles. Slowly roll from hip towards knee moving up and down and side to side.

OUTER HIPS – roller is placed on side of leg just below the hip. Place top leg forward to help control the movement. Purpose here is to break up adhesions allows the tendons and muscles to work efficiently together. Roll from hip towards knee

HIP FLEXORS– lie on stomach placing block/ball under the bottom edge of bellybutton. Fold forward over block and allow hips and shoulders to be heavy. You may be able to feel a strong pulsating movement here. Lift onto hands for a stronger release allowing the belly to fully relax

INNER THIGHS– lie on belly open knee out wide over the roller, weight bear on the roller moving it slowly from the hip to the knee, you can add a slight rotation here to explore for tension

HAMSTRINGS– sit on roller or therapy balls, starting from just near the sits bones, near the hips. Move from side to side slowly once loosened slowly move another 2cm down hamstring and repeat side to side movement. Make sure you are leaning forward as much as possible.

GLUTES– sit on roller, right ankle over left thigh, lean a little to the right and move around slowly pausing in tense areas. By opening the glutes first we can get a deeper release.

FEET– therapy balls under feet. One at a time, start seated build the standing weight

CALVES– use roller or therapy balls to roll back and sides of calves’ one leg at a time using the other leg over the top to apply more pressure

LOWER BACK– lie on side with roller between hip crease and mid waist. Leaning weight forward and back slightly releasing the quadratus lumborum OR alternatively, use the therapy balls under the lower back placing either side of the spine. Knees are bent pull one knee slowly to the chest hold then release and repeat on the side.

Credit to Carly Heather who took the time to put this 3-part mini series together prior to her departure!