Use And Benefits Of Foam Rollers For Runners
Those that engage in any type of running activity should consider the individual benefits that come with foam rollers. Foam rollers for runners can knead knotty and tender areas to promote long and smooth muscles, which are more injury resistant, recover faster and are much more mobile than short, knotty muscles. Foam rolling began thirty years ago in Europe, who, unlike those in the United States, preferred massage therapy over modalities, such as ultrasound and electrotherapy. And foam rollers are better than static stretches, as stretching cold muscles can lead to poor results and irritation. If you want to perform static stretches, it is best to wait after using foam rollers and your workout.
One of the most common issues runners have are sore calves, lower back pain and tight IT bands, which are ribbons of connective tissue going along the sides of the quadriceps. During exercise, the IT band and other muscles can become very tight and without proper massaging techniques, it will hamper the performance of any run. Combined with proper warm up and stretching techniques, foam rollers can help relieve the tightness of these critical muscles.
Running and IT Band
The IT band becomes tight and the action of the foam roller helps to straighten out the IT band. Below, are techniques you can use to relieve the tightness in the IT band. In order to find the roller that is right for you, it would be better to use black and blue ones available at your gym, as they are of higher quality than the regular white ones. Before beginning, it might be a good idea to go through the exercises to determine which areas of your legs are tight and which ones are not.
For the use of these exercises, there are several basic techniques for which you will need to familiarize yourself with. As you use the foam roll along the side of your leg, you will find areas that are tight and for a lack of a better term, it will feel like a speed bump. With these tender areas, put as much weight as possible onto your lower leg with your upper leg as you focus right on the tight area and count to 20. Don’t flex and remember to take in slow and relaxed breaths.
Below, there are several different exercises that are centered on the IT band and calves. For the IT bands, like on your side and place the roller perpendicularly under your hip. Propped up on your elbows, roll the roller down your IT band to your knee. For each knot, hold for 20 seconds until you reach your knee and repeat on the other leg.
Using a foam roller to stretch IT Band
For the calves, sit high on the floor with the roller lying perpendicular under the tops of your calves. Start with the left leg crossing over the right and roll the center and sides of your calf, all the way down to your ankle. By lifting your butt off the ground, you can put even more weight on your calf and have a better stretch and it might be a good idea to point and flex your ankle. When you are finished, repeat with the other leg.
Foam roller calf exercises for runners
Before wrapping this up, there are several other benefits to using foam rollers for runners, the first of which is that it helps to increase the blood flow to certain areas of the body. With this increased blood flow, oxygen and nutrients are delivered to the body, allowing the body to restore proper use of muscles, tendons, ligaments and other parts. So, the use of rollers, particularly on the foam rollers on arms, back, shoulders and legs, helps the body to recover and can greatly relieve the soreness caused by training. Another benefit is that regular use helps to increase muscle flexibility and better spinal alignment. Both of these benefits can be used to combat lower back pain. Finally, another benefit is reduced stress. Stress can lead to symptoms, such as headaches, higher blood pressure, chest pain, and troubles with sleeping.
While we are on the subject of foam rollers, it might be a good idea to briefly cover The Marathon Stick, which is used in much the same way, but better for more portable use. You might find that some areas are easier to reach with the marathon stick and that it might be a good thing to carry in the suitcase for long nights on the road. There are many lengths available, so you should be able to find one that works for you.
The stick roller for runners
One of the most common techniques in regards to using the stick is to pull it over the spots on the muscles that are tight, like a rolling pin. Make sure to apply the right amount of pressure, as the more you apply the more you can reap the benefits. The same exercise for calves that was done with the roller can be done with the stick. Simply roll the stick over the entire length of the muscle, being sure to apply pressure directed to the muscles.
Foam rollers are one of the fastest growing trends in the athletic world today and one of the major improvements in the field today. By learning to prepare one’s body for any kind of activity, whether it be running or not, athletes everywhere can enjoy better running performance and achieve longer, smooth muscles.