The foam roller is the latest addition to the workout scene at the gym but almost everyone ignores it since they do not know how to use it. Do not be tempted to take the foam roller down to the pool, once you learn how to use the foam roller you will see that it is the best little multitasker for a complete workout.
Here are six easy ways to incorporate the foam roller into your workout.
Strengthen Your Core
Use 10 minutes of your workout three times a week working your core on the foam roller helps you to develop core strength and improve stability. Sitting, standing, and lying down on the foam roller forces you to work harder since it is unstable but it will still support your back when you lie down on it . Try substituting your normal crunches for one of these two moves.
– Sit on the end of the roller with your knees bent. Place your feet on the floor and extend your arms out on both sides, palms facing down. Roll down onto the foam roller till your back hits the roller and then raise yourself back up. Do 10 repetitions.
– Lie down on the foam roller, making sure that you are centered on the roller before you begin. Place your feet flat on the floor hip width apart and keep your knees bent. Stretch your arms out to either side of you. Lift one knee to your chest holding it there for a few seconds and be sure to use your abs, bring your foot back down to the floor. Repeat 10 times for each leg.
Improve Your Balance
Most workouts do not include moves that help us improve our balance even though they should. Add these two moves on the foam roller to your workout.
– Stand on the foam roller with your feet hip width apart and your knees slightly bent. If you need the additional support do this near a wall where you can keep your hands out in front of your for support. Stay in this position for one minute while squeezing your glutes and make sure you are working out your abs while you maintain the position.
– Sit down on one end of the foam roller and cross your legs in front of you so that they rest on the halfway point of the foam roller. Your feet should just barely be touching the floor. Raise your arms out shoulder height on either side of you with your palms facing down. Raise your feet off the floor so that your seat is the only part of you in contact with the roller and hold for 15 seconds before lowering your feet back down. Repeat.
Tone Your Legs & Smooth Cellulite
We all hate cellulite and the foam roller is a great massage tool to minimize the appearance or prevent cellulite by improving circulation to areas where it commonly appears. In order to see any results when using the foam roller to help with trouble spots it is recommended that you use the roller for 20 to 30 minutes four times a week along with cardio and strength training. Try these moves.
– Stand in front of your foam roller, keep you left leg planted and place the toes of your right foot behind you on the foam roller. Bend your knees and lower down into a lunge causing the roller to roll back and travel to your shin. Keep your hands on your hips for balance while you are lunging. Rise back up to the starting position ending with your toes on the roller. Repeat this 12 times for each leg.
– Sit down on the center of the roller with both ends flaring out on either side of you. Lean back and place your hands on the floor behind you and place your feet on the floor with your knees bent. Lift your left leg up and cross it over to rest on your right knee. Let your left knee drop and slowly roll your body over the roller. Roll the roller all the way down your left thigh and then back up, shift some and repeat on the right thigh. Make sure the foam roller is moving over your outer thigh and glutes. Do this five times and then switch crossed legs and repeat.
If you want a complete workout using only the foam roller I like The Complete Foam Roller Workout DVD by Lawrence Biscontine. I have also found a couple of useful online videoclips that demonstrate stretches using a foam roller at fitsugar.com.