Fitness Tip: Roll Out

When I first start working with a fitness or personal training client, usually the first thing that we do is go through a Functional Movement Assessment.  In this session, I look at how the client is moving and how they are not and/or cannot. I generally avoid words like all or never but in this case, I prescribe to all clients that have movement impairments, pain or problems to use the foam roller or some sort of myofascial release tool.  This could also be the Theracane, a lacrosse ball, softball, foam roller ball or other things of this nature.     

This is the Theracane, looks a bit tortuous, right?

The foam roller is a cylinder piece of Styrofoam that is used to help release tension in muscles throughout the body using different exercises. It comes in many shapes and sizes and I recommend starting with a full-size roller that is 36 inches long and 6 inches wide.  The tighter your muscles are the softer the density of the foam roller you will want to use because it will be uncomfortable until your tissues loosen up. 

             This is a full-size foam roller

After a summer of flip-flops, beach walking, lack of a fitness routine or for any other reason at all, I often see a myriad of movement problems with the hips, knees, and feet this time of year.   Plantar fasciitis being one of them for sure but knee pain and low back pain as well.  
Below are four areas of muscle I often instruct clients to focus on in order to get their hips more mobile, take the tension out of the muscles attached to the knee joints and release stiffness in the ankle and foot.  This allows the joints to move more freely.  The strength of the core followed by the associated weakened and overstretched muscles that are identified in the assessment is the next area of tackle after the tension on the shortened muscles has been addressed.  
I also usually recommend an adjustment through a certified Advanced Biostructural Correction practitioner for maximum function and performance.  Remember, bones and muscles work together and stretching or massage won’t move your bones into the proper position or get your nervous system communicating with your body better.  It’s important to treat both your muscles and bones.  
  • Glute and hip 
  • IT band
  • Side and front of lower leg muscle (avoiding the shin bone)  
  • Calf and soleus (the soleus is about 2 inches above the Achilles tendon)
You want to roll around on the area you are trying to loosen for 30-60 seconds 1-2 times per muscle region.  The more tender the area the more attention the area needs daily.  This doesn’t necessarily mean more pressure at first.  Maintain your breathing and don’t ever hold your breath throughout the exercises.  These exercises can be done on a massage table or bed if you have problems getting up and down off of the floor.
Remember friends, if you can’t move well, you won’t exercise, function and perform well either.  And don’t forget to smile and breathe while you do your foam roller exercises, if you can’t do that you are either using too much pressure which can be more problematic to you or you may need to grin and bear it a bit until the tension subsides and the pain is not as intense.  
Finally, your diet and hydration levels have so much to do with your tissue health so if this is super painful for you, ditch the sugar, gluten, and pasteurized dairy among other junk foods in your diet and feel the difference!

Do you have movement problems, issues or pains?  Contact me so we can schedule a Functional Movement Assessment for you and get you on the road to pain-free function and performance!

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