How to Foam Roll for Runners
As a runner, there's a good chance that you're already aware of the many benefits that foam rolling provides for post-running; however, if you're only using a foam roller to rehabilitate injuries, you aren't experiencing the full advantages that it provides. Foam rollers can be an incredible part of your warmup and your cooldown routines, too. Because it boosts circulation, it helps to prepare your body for working out, and it aids in recovery, too. And since it helps to release knots that minimize the range of motion and cause pain, foam rolling can also help prepare your muscles for stretching. When you're running – especially on long, challenging routes – being loose and limber is super important.
Here's an easy plan of how you can use foam rolling for your running warmups and cooldowns to get you started.
Foam Rolling Warmups
Since rolling boosts blood flow and relieves tightness in the muscles that can interrupt proper form, here’s a look at some activities that you can do with a foam roller before you hit the track (path, trails, or wherever else you run).
- Calf roll. Sit and extend your legs on the ground in front of you. Position the foam roller underneath your right calf and rest your left foot on the floor. Then, using your hands, press your hips up and off the floor, then move back so that the roller moves down toward your ankle and move forward so that the roller moves up toward your ankle. Repeat ten times and then rotate on the other side.
- Sit down on the roller and bend your right knee while pressing your foot into the floor. Next, cross your left ankle over top of your right knee and then lean onto your right side and roll your body forward and back, along your right outer hip and glute; use your right leg to control your pressure. Rotate your hips right to left so that you can locate the knots and trigger points and concentrate on those areas for about 60 seconds. Repeat the same on the left side.
Foam Rolling Cooldown
Foam rollers are great for a post-running cooldown, as it helps to flush out the toxins that have built up in your body, thus aiding in recovery. Here are some post-running foam roller workouts to try.
- Lie on the ground on your forearms with your shoulders positioned over your elbows. Extend your right leg out to the side with your knee bent. Position the foam roller underneath your inner right thigh and then use your forearms and your left leg to roll your weight back and forth, thus rolling your inner right thigh. Roll the foam roller from your knee to the hip ten times and then repeat it on your left leg.
- Sit down on the ground and position the foam roller underneath your thighs. Using your hands, lift your hips up and then roll from your knees up to your glutes. To increase the pressure level, cross your left leg out over your right leg and then move one leg at a time, turning your right leg in and out—repeat ten times and then alternate sides.
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