Using a foam roller that triggers pressure points is one of the best things you can do for your back and other large muscles. Using one will increase blood flow, which increases oxygen to muscles, reduce joint pain and increase flexibility. Everyone from the gym rat to the biggest nerd and everyone in-between can benefit from a foam roller.
As long as I can remember I have suffered from lower back pain. It wasn’t like I was sitting on my butt all day playing video games doing nothing active. I played soccer all through school, tournament paintball and rock climbing after high school. Not to mention just general activity like hiking, canoeing, pick-up games with friends and P90X. Even doing P90X my lower back hurt and that’s when I started using a foam roller. Using a roller everyday before and after workouts my back pain almost disappeared and my flexibility increased more than it was doing yoga and stretches alone.
Best Foam Roller For Stretches and Exercises
Credit: amazon.comTriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller is the best on the market now. It boasts just south of 1,300 reviews on amazon.com and 1,010 of those are five stars. I couldn't agree more with those reviews. As roll your back it feels like a sports massage and sometimes your spine will crack as it is realigns. It was awesome after experiencing what I have with the roller to see so many people on amazon saying basically the same thing. There are people all offer the board that use the roller to help with just about everything. You have the people with chronic back pain and joint pain using the roller. You also have athletes using them after workouts and practices to increase flexibility. My sister-in-law is a physical therapist who works with the elderly who struggle with balance and uses this roller as part of her patients’ routine.
Stretches and Excercises
Perform these simple exercises before your workout to help get oxygen into your muscles and after your workout the "iron out" your muscles. In later articles I am going to write about specific muscle groups and how you can target those. These are the basics and a fantastic way to start. You will notice an increase in flexibility and decrease in joint and muscle pain if you do these everyday.
Hamstrings and GlutesCredit: www.fitbie.com
Start with your legs extended in front of you with the roller directly under your thighs. Place your hands on the floor behind you. Using your arms to initiate the motion, slowly roll back and forth to move the roller up and down from the bottom of your glutes to just above your knees.
*If your knees also hurts you can roll under your knees about every other roll.
*As you roll, try rotating your legs in and out from the hips – this will allow you to hit your hamstrings more thoroughly.
Start on the floor with the roller underneath your calves. Place your hands on the floor behind you and raise your booty putting all of your body weight on your hands and the roller. Slowly roll forward and back to move the roller up and down from just below your knees to above your ankles.
*To up the intensity, do the move one side at a time by stacking your legs.
*As you roll, try rotating your feet in and out as you roll to hit your calves more fully.
Upper BackCredit: blog.anytimefitness.com
Rest your back against the roller positioned underneath your shoulder blades. Bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor. Lift thatbooty and place your hands behind your head like you are going to do a crunch. Keeping your core muscles tight, slowly roll forward and back so that the roller moves up and down between the middle of your back and the top of your shoulder blades.
*Don’t tilt your head forward to look at your legs as you roll as this will place stress on the spine. Keep your head and neck in line with your back.
Doing these exercises with the TriggerPoint every day will help with flexibility, getting more oxygen into your muscles and decreasing joint pain. Those athletes reading this should do them before and after workouts to really see the benefits. The nice thing is they don’t take more than 15 minutes. Everyone has 15 minutes in their day to set aside for better health so no excuses.