I have long been a fan of the foam roller. It is one of the few pieces of equipment that I keep in our home as I find it great for stretching and warming up. In fact, all of our trainers start any programme with a foam-roller warm-up.
Over the next few weeks, I'm going to discuss how foam-rolling can help you achieve optimum performance as an athlete, how to use it for stretching, and its many benefits.
Of course, the standard foam roller has now been developed into all sorts of better quality rollers that will last longer and promise you everything under the sun, but if you are starting out and looking for a good way to warm up at home or before a run, match, triathlon etc, a standard foam roller is lightweight and easy enough to bring about.
There are many different opinions about what stretching is best before particular types of training, but knowing how to use the foam roller can be one of the best warm-ups for muscles.
It allows better blood flow while giving you a feeling of deep massage. This, in turn, helps with performance, as often poor performance can be linked with overworked muscles and lack of blood supply.
And it's not just for use on one or two body parts. You can warm up and stretch your entire body, from legs, quads, hamstrings, calf and IT band to full back, triceps, biceps, and, if you are a guy, even your chest!
How does it work?
Foam-rolling works like massage, gently working the muscle while creating a good blood flow – an ideal pre-run option. With that in mind, let's look at some foam-rolling options for legs to get you started.