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Foam Rolling Part 2
Lower Body

Foam Rollers
Foam Rollers

Last week I shared some of the benefits of a self-massage technique called "foam rolling." Done before you exercise, it's been shown to reduce pain and increase range of motion, allowing you to get a better workout.

The concept is simple, you lay on top of the roll, pressing down on the body part that's giving you problems and "roll" back and forth to massage out the kinks.

Before you start, keep these important tips in mind. Generally, the less muscle you have, the softer the roller should be. For hard to reach areas, you might also use lacrosse balls, tennis balls or even a basketball.

Used properly, a roller should be firm enough to impact the muscle, but not hard enough to leave a bruise. During the roll, you should stop on any tender points for 10 to 60 seconds before moving on. Try and roll each section until discomfort (muscle knots) dissipate. Five to ten minutes seems to be an appropriate amount of time for the entire rolling session. It will probably be uncomfortable when you're doing it, but you should feel better when it's done.

Below are some rolling exercises that target the lower body.

Foam Roll Glutes

Lie down with your glutes on the foam roller. Put both feet flat on the ground, then bring the right one up and rest that foot on your left knee. Use your left hand to grab the right ankle, while steadying yourself with your right hand. Roll your glutes from high to low and outside to inside. Then switch and do the same thing on the opposite side.

Foam Roll Calf

Lie down with one leg straight out and that calf on the foam roller. The other leg is bent, supporting your weight. Both arms are at your sides, also supporting your weight. Roll the calf across the roller from high to low and outside to inside. Be careful to never roll over top of just the Achilles tendon.

The Achilles tendon is found on the back of your leg, starting at about mid-calf and extending down to just above the heel of your foot. You can find it by feeling for a springy band of tissue at the back of your ankle. Putting too much force on the tendon can cause it to tear or rupture, which is why you don't want to roll it and risk injury.

Foam Roll Adductors

Start by lying face down with the foam roller placed on the inside of the leg. Use both hands and the leg that's not on the roller to support your body weight. Roll your groin muscle on the foam roller. Roll both high and low, inside and outside the groin muscle group.

Click Here for foam rolling exercises for your upper body.

Click Here to purchase a foam roller.

Part 1 2

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Updated 5/11/2016