On a Roll
Recently while training quads, I got a little ambitious in the hack squat and ended up with a small tear in my right quadriceps. While not severe, my leg was extremely sore for almost a week and I was laid up on the couch and out of commission for 2 full days.
While lying around, I did a little research about what stretches I could do to help myself and I came across the idea of “Foam Rolling”. I’m sure you have seen these foam rollers lying around the gym- they look like pool toys but they are actually really useful tools for athletes when used for SMR or self-myofascial release.
Combined with stretching, SMR on the foam roller will help athletes protect our muscles from injury, improve the length and tone of the muscle, reduce scar tissue and adhesions from training and improve posture. The best part about SMR with the foam roller – it’s super easy to do and inexpensive.
For $20, I picked up a 6” foam roller from Sports Authority. Basically, all you have to do is apply your body weight to the roller while lying on the floor and slowly roll your body over the foam roller to apply pressure to the different muscles you want to work on. Here are some of the techniques I use to perform SMR:
Hamstrings: Sit on the foam roller with your feet flexed. Roll back and forth slowly from the base of the glutes to the knee.
Hip flexors/Quadriceps: Balance on your hands with one leg on the foam roller. Roll slowly from the upper thigh into the hip.
IT band: Lie on your side with the foam roller under your hips. Roll down the lateral aspect of your thigh down to your knee.
Calves: Place the foam roller under your calves and support your body weight on your hands. Roll from the ankle to the knee.
Middle and Lower Traps/Rhomboids: Lie on supine with your hands behind your head and the foam roller in the middle of your back. Roll upward towards your armpits and back down your back, stopping in the middle of your back.
Since I discovered foam rolling, I am incorporating it into my training on a daily basis, for about ten to twenty minutes a session. I noticed very quickly after my injury that my quad was less sore and as well, the rest of my body has benefited greatly from SMR with the foam roller. I recommend every bodybuilder and athlete incorporate this into their training!