Rock and Roller

The Foam Roller can be a life saver when it comes to stretching and helping with minor injuries. Rolling your body over foam cylinders can improve flexibility, reduce post-workout soreness, prevent sports injuries and even alleviate chronic pain.The foam roller is a great tool for lengthening and elongating muscles and is especially helpful for runners who often suffer from tight and fatigued muscles. The foam roller will also massage the muscles intensely, similar to what a massage therapist will do without the cost to visit one.

Foam roller therapy is also often called self-myofascial release. It has been shown to improve range of motion in the knee and hip, and to ease muscle soreness after exercise. Myofascial release comes from a theory that pressure from the rollers breaks up tight spots in muscles and the connective tissue that surrounds them, the fascia. In combination with regular stretching, using a foam roller can be more effective in improving flexibility.

The foam roller should not replace proper stretching, warming up and cooling down, but it can be used as a tool to limit soreness and tightness through increased blood flow and flexibility. By using the roller, you can help to also avoid injuries. The iliotibial band (IT band), the band that runs on the outside of the leg from the hip to just below the knee is one of the areas in the body that can be prone to injury. By rolling the foam roller on the side of the leg (slowly back and forth) towards the top of the leg, specifically where the quad where it meets the IT band it will help to increase blood flow and circulation, aiding in healing and preventing injury.

Here are 4 Foam Roller Stretches to try:

Lower Back Pain
Looser hamstrings will help with back pain. Sit on a foam roller with your legs stretched out. Support yourself with your hands on the floor behind you. Position yourself so that the roller is directly under your hamstrings. Slowly roll forwards and back from the base of your glutes to the bend in your knee for approximately 30 seconds.

Runner’s Knee
Roll your iliotibial band (the muscle on the outside of your leg from your hip to your knee). Lie on your side and slip the roller under your thigh. Cross your other foot over and put it on the floor. Roll back and forth for 30 seconds from the bottom of your hip to just above your knee.

Tight quads can tug on your patellar tendons, causing pain around your knees. Lie on your stomach with the roller placed under your thighs. Holding the body straight, roll yourself back and forth from hip to mid-thigh for 30 seconds.

Upper Back Pain
Lie on your back and place the foam roller beneath your neck, near your shoulder blades. Your feet and backside should be on the ground and your hands behind your head. Brace your abs and slowly work the roller for 30 seconds up and down from your shoulder blades to your middle back (not your lower back).

If you add the foam roller in combination with static stretching you will notice results. Massage your own muscles and boost your performance with a foam roller. Have your trainer work it into your warm up and post workout.

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Add a Little Yoga

You may already have a well developed training schedule that includes weight training, cardio/aerobic exercise and resistance training, but have you thought of adding some yoga. Because of its perceived gentle nature, yoga is often overlooked as an extremely effective complement to a regular exercise routine. Adding a little bit of yoga to your training/workout routine will offer many benefits. Ultimately, it will help you strengthen and tone your muscles evenly as you work out. The poses and meditation also enhance your flexibility, balance, and contribute to a happier training routine.

The postures of yoga target all the joints of your body even though you rarely use some. The exercises also strengthen joints you regularly work out such as hips, knees and ankles. It straightens and strengthens the spinal cord as well as tightens the core. These will in turn lower chronic pain on your lower back. It also lubricates your joints, which means they will hurt less while you are working out.

Adding some Yoga to your workouts can have several benefits:

  1. Core Strength – Yoga’s slow, focused movements demand a strong midsection, which creates a perfect foundation for strength training and bodybuilding. The isometric contractions that are part of many of the yoga positions tap into a new level of resistance training that cannot be accomplished with exercise equipment alone.
  2. Range of Motion and Flexibility – Yoga training will help improve performance and prevent injuries during workouts and athletics by gently increasing your range of motion and flexibility.
  3. Balance – Athletic training and weight training effectively develop certain specified muscle groups while some other may get ignored causing an imbalance in the mechanics and muscular system. Yoga training can help improve your body’s balance by addressing some of these underdeveloped areas.
  4. Effective Breathing – Breathing supplies your body and muscles with essential oxygen. During athletic events and workout routines, it is easy to forget to take in full breaths and deliver the proper oxygen levels to all required areas. Yoga helps to train your body how to effectively take deep full breaths.
  5. Downtime Exercise – Too much of something is not a good thing. It is important to take downtime when working out. Use your downtime days to stay active and by doing yoga. There are many yoga styles that are relaxed and less intense to offer the ability to exercise during off days (or even injured, with physicians approval).

Doing a few yoga moves before your workout will minimize or prevent injuries during the workout. Doing yoga after a workout will help your muscles recover and get ready for the next day. Yoga is also beneficial for your internal organs since it stimulates them and prevents various diseases. Get your trainer to help you out by adding some moves into your regular routine or in addition to your workout sessions, add some yoga on the off days. Adding yoga to your workout routine will add a whole new dimension to your total fitness that will serve you well for a lifetime. There are many styles and intensities that you can find one that is perfect for you and your fitness goals.

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Roll With It

There are many reasons why massaging out the tight knots in muscles is an important part of your workout routine, even if you already stretch regularly. No matter how much you stretch, there is a build of fascia that creates muscle knots that won’t go away, which can lead to many different problems.Regular use of a foam roller can:

  • Help prevent common injuries – foam rolling every day ensures you are massaging away fascia buildup in your muscles, preventing those areas from becoming injury trigger points.
  • Help you de-stress – foam roll your worries away, digging at those knots and releasing tension.
  • Keeps you flexible – building up your flexibility is key for any fitness routine.

Foam rolling is not just a massage tool either. Use it as part of your regular workout routine.

Try adding the foam roller to these common workouts.

  • Plank with a foam roller. Place your palms shoulder width apart on the foam roller. Stabilize the foam roller while you plank and hold.
  • Wall squat with the foam roller. Place the foam roller between your midback and a wall and squat down until the roller reaches your shoulder.
  • Push up and arm lift with the foam roller. Do a push up with one palm on the ground and the other on the roller. Push up and lift the roller until its parallel to your chest. Repeat with your other arm.
  • Bridge on the roller with leg extension. Make a bridge with your heels on the foam roller. Extend a leg straight up. Repeat with other leg.
  • Push up and leg lift. With hands on roller, do a push up. Lower your chest toward the roller, keeping your elbows in. Lift your right leg, and then lower it. Repeat the push-up, and then lift the left leg.

The foam roller is a great exercise tool to help strengthen muscles, prevent injury and can help overall fitness and ability. The more regularly you use a foam roll on your tight muscles, the less painful it will be. Roll with it!

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Self help for plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis can be a tricky, chronic problem.  If you suffer from it, it’s best to seek out professional help in order to learn what’s causing your case.  Some common causes include:  improper training techniques, over training, and worn out shoes, as well as extremely flat feet, or feet with very high arches.  Some of these things you can control (such as your choice of training activities and the quality of your shoes), others, such as the shape of your feet, you can’t control.


I had a pretty bad case of plantar fasciitis a few years ago, and believe one of the reasons I am free of it today is due to the stretches that I consistently do.  Good medical attention (which included custom orthotics) and very good shoes that are the right type of shoe for my particular situation are the other two things that I credit with helping me .

 I made a little video of some of the stretches I do in the hope that they’ll help  you, too!



Committed to your success,