Foam Roller Exercises for Fascia Release
For many of us we own a foam roller or some sort of fascial releasing toy, but the question is “are we using it the way we should be”? I love me some foam rolling, and as a functional fitness professional, I work to educate my students that rolling is a vital method- where we release the tissues so our favorite or much needed mobility practices are a bit easier and more beneficial.
What do I mean? Well for many we are trying to move around in a catsuit five sizes too small expecting at first move our bodies to do exactly what we want them to. And to get to the punch line- if you can’t move a body part how can you expect it to function and operate correctly (safely)?
Rolling is a method that everyone (yes, everyone) should be incorporating into their daily routine. A few minutes prior to a yoga session can increase your range of motion with less effort, and less injury. A few targeted hot spots before you run or lift can make all the difference in you continually adapting the movement to accommodate that catsuit of yours leaving you always shy of every getting to the heart of the issue.
So here are four hot spot areas that I like to hit in my personal practice and guide my students through for an all over improvement in how they move both on and off the mat.
Foam Rolling your Lower Legs
Rolling lower leg (360) is essential. I tell my students all the time, “imagine walking around with two two year old’s on your legs all day-that’s what it’s like when your lower calves/legs are restrictive (short and tight). For many that is how we are living. And then we show up to yoga, Cross-fit, Zumba, whatever and expect to do everything without so much as a brief introduction to our friend the calf.
Consider rolling out your lower legs, front, back and sides and you will be amazed at how you feel and what your range of motion is like after you ditch the two year old’s.
Release Your Jaw
Not exactly a yoga pose, but our jaw is an area of our bodies that needs more attention. Our jaws are deeply connected to the health and happiness of our hips and often times when the hips are out of wack (very scientific term) our while we sleep our jaws will grind and clench to help rewire the hips and bring them back to balance.
Using one end of an acuBall, twist and turn the ball like you would turn a door knob and feel the tissues being pulled and released. Or try my favorite and imagine you are painting with a paint brush and with your wrist paint circles as you push gently in and pull the tissues around in a circle. Notice the release all the way up into the hair line. After several minutes on each side open and close your mouth and notice the new found space. This is amazing to do before bed.
Relax Your Occipital Muscles
A stiff neck, tight shoulders, and tension headaches are usually a precursor for some pain meds, but consider something a bit less chemically altering and consider something with a bit more instant gratification.
Using a warmed up acuBall, lie down on the floor and place the ball underneath the lip of your skull (occipital bone). Nod the head and gently turn the head side to side. You should notice right away the knotty parts and FYI this may not be your favorite. But if you struggle with upper body tension, tension headaches, and even the jaw clenching we spoke of earlier give this a try. You won’t be sorry you did.
Roll Your Feet
So you walk around with casts on your feet all day. Yes, you heard me correctly, casts, those things you call shoes. Those things that do not allow your feet to move, expand and take on different textures, surfaces, and environments. Those things that cripple your feet, it’s no wonder so many elderly struggle to walk, because the one thing they need to walk has been under used and no longer considered for therapy.
So kick off those shoes of your and under your desk with a mini acuBall roll out those sweet feet of yours and show them some love. We start off almost every yoga class with rolling out of our feet. It’s the base of our body and if your lower body is not in balance and ready to take on life, how can you expect the rest of your body to?
The feet hold 72,000 nadis or nerve endings that all connect back with different areas of the body, tapping into those areas thorough the feet also offers an additional healing we could all use. Once you’ve rolled each foot notice how your foot feels to the floor when standing or walking afterwards. You should feel more connected, more aware, more alive. And now, so will you!
Four reasons to roll it out that will give you instant gratification with little time spend. Remember what we do does matter, and I want you to do things that help you bring more movement and well-being into your day.