Time To Get Rolling: Foam Rolling Tips from Wounded Warrior Project

There are precise techniques that ensure you get the most out of foam roller stretch methods. 

 

By James Herrera – Physical Health and Wellness Director, Wounded Warrior Project®

 

You’ve probably seen them scattered around at the gym or being used by specialty fitness trainers. They’re the peculiar foam tubes people lie and roll around on the ground with. They also have the least creative name imaginable – foam rollers. And craziest of all, they work – that’s why Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) incorporates them into stretching routines after Physical Health and Wellness activities.

Using them isn’t as simple as lying or sitting on them – each muscle group is specifically targeted. There are precise techniques that ensure you get the most out of this stretch method. With today being National Foam Rolling Day, it’s as good a day as any to show you some movements that can get you foam rolling like a pro.

 

Hamstrings & Glutes

Exercise – Foam Roll Hamstring

  1. Seat yourself upright with the foam roller underneath your leg.
  2. Begin rolling where the glute muscles meet the hamstring down to the back of your knee.
  3. Roll slowly back toward the glute muscles, and then roll back toward the knee.
  4. Do this for 30 to 60 seconds (but don’t continue if you start to experience intense pain).
  5. Now, switch legs and repeat the process.

Exercise – Trigger Point Glutes

  1. Start in a seated position on top of the foam roller.
  2. Bring the ankle of one leg atop the thigh of the other leg.
  3. Slowly roll on the glute of the leg that is raised and repeat on both sides.
  4. Do this for 30 to 60 seconds (but don’t continue if you start to experience intense pain).
  5. Now, switch legs and repeat the process.

Shoulders

Exercise – Foam Roll Lats

  1. Place the foam roller horizontally across the lat muscle.
  2. With one arm extended, slowly roll from the armpit down to your rib cage, and repeat.
  3. Do this for 30 to 60 seconds (but don’t continue if you start to experience intense pain).
  4. Now, switch sides and repeat the process.

Exercise – Trigger Point Pecs

  1. Lie flat, face down with your chest centered on top of the foam roller.
  2. Gradually apply pressure across the pec and repeat.
  3. Be sure to adjust the foam roller for comfort and to target areas of tension.
  4. Do this for 30 to 60 seconds (but don’t continue if you start to experience intense pain).

Exercise – Foam Roll Shoulder Series

  1. A Stretch: With your head and hips supported by the foam roller, relax your arms by your hips with palms facing up. Hold for 30 seconds.
  2. T Stretch: With your head and hips supported by the foam roller, relax your arms even with your shoulders in a T position with palms facing up. Hold for 30 seconds.
  3. Y Stretch: With your head and hips supported by the foam roller, relax your arms overhead in a Y position with your thumbs pointing toward the floor. Hold for 30 seconds.
  4. Shoulder Hugs: With your head and back supported by the foam roller, start with arms crossed in a hugging position, open arms to a T position, then return to that same hugging position. Alternate with arm crosses over top. Repeat 30 times.
  5. Walk the Ceiling: With your head and back supported by the foam roller, start with arms extended and palms together. Begin by lowering one arm down beside your hip while extending the other arm overhead and toward the floor. Continue by moving your arms in opposite directions alternating sides. Repeat 30 times.

Spine

Exercise – Thoracic Spine

  1. Lying on your back, place the foam roller horizontally across shoulder blades in a comfortable position.
  2. Slowly roll down to the lower back.
  3. Return to starting position, and repeat.
  4. Do this for 30 to 60 seconds (but don’t continue if you start to experience intense pain).

Hips

Exercise – Foam Roll It Band

  1. Lie perpendicular to the floor with the foam roller underneath you just below the hip crease (hip flexor).
  2. Roll down to just above the knee joint.
  3. Roll up to return to the starting position.
  4. Do this for 30 to 60 seconds (but don’t continue if you start to experience intense pain).
  5. Now, switch sides and repeat the process.

Exercise – Hip Flexor

  1. In a flat, face-down position, place the foam roll across the hip crease (hip flexor.)
  2. Hold that position while comfortably applying more pressure over time.
  3. Do this for 30 to 60 seconds (but don’t continue if you start to experience intense pain).
  4. Now, switch sides and repeat the process.

To access more information about WWP’s free fitness program offerings, check out the Physical Health and Wellness web page. To learn more about how WWP’s other programs and services are making an impact on the lives of wounded warriors, visit newsroom.woundedwarriorproject.org/.

 

About Wounded Warrior Project
Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) connects, serves, and empowers wounded warriors. Read more at http://newsroom.woundedwarriorproject.org/about-us.

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