Top Foam Rolling Techniques for Runners
Foam rolling is one of the most beneficial things a runner can do after exercise. It helps prevent tight muscles and adhesions, as well as those nasty charley horses. In fact, if you have a charley horse, you can use a foam roller during the excruciating muscle spasm to help relieve it. Along with staying hydrated and stretching before a run, foam rolling should be an essential part of what you do your exercise, preferably making it a daily routine.
Start with the foam roller directly under your calf muscle. Have your legs stretched out in front of you, cross your ankles, place your hands on the floor facing the direction of your legs, and lift your body off the floor with the support all on your hands. Then slowly roll it from the lower portion of your calves to the ankles. There are actually two techniques you can do with this position…the next one affects a wider range of the muscles in the leg. Place the foam roller perpendicular on the middle of the calf this time and roll your entire lower leg from the ankle all the way to the back of the knee. This helps relieve both the soleus and the gastrocnemius muscles which help stabilize the foot and ankle, helping you to run faster.
To benefit the sides of your legs, start in the position of lying on your right side and place the foam roller under your hip. Keep your left leg crossed over the right and use your hands and arms for support of your weight. Make sure that your left foot is flat on the floor when you start to roll from your hip down to just above the knee. Go slow and switch positions after a few minutes, only for about two minutes per area.
To really benefit your upper legs, the best technique is to use the foam roller on your quads. Face down on the ground, keeping your head and chest off the ground, supported by your arms. (It helps if you hold your hands together and keep your elbows pointed out). Place the foam roller underneath the middle of your thighs and keep your feet off and pointed at the ground. Slowly start to roll from the top of your quads down to your knee, but stop before you get to the actual knee.