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Part 3: Stretching and Core Work Using A Foam Roller

Posted May 20 2010 8:45am

At last, we have reached part 3, the final installment of my foam roller series. It will be short and sweet :)

Make sure you read the first two sections as well:

Stretching With A Foam Roller

When I stretch with a foam roller after running, I usually do these stretches in this sequence. These are just a sample of stretches that I did today:

  • Hamstring Stretch
    My hamstrings always get extremely tight and this stretch really helps to loosen them up. Start by sitting on the foam roller and stretching the legs straight out in front of you. While keeping your back as straight as possible, lean forward with your hips while reaching out with your hands, stretching the hamstrings.  Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat as needed.
  • Inner Thigh Stretch
    Begin as you did with the hamstring stretch. Bend your knees and bring the heels together in front of you. Gradually lean forward and you will feel the stretch in your inner thighs.
  • Outer Thigh Stretch
    While lying face up, position your feet on the foam roller, with your knees bent and your hands at your side. Keep one leg on the foam roller and cross the other foot over the knee.  Use the foot to roll the roller towards you to deepen the stretch in the glutes.  Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
  • Full Body Stretch
    With the foam roller under your hips, place your  hands on the floor and stretch up, looking up at the ceiling. You should feel the stretch along the front side of your body.  Hold for 30 seconds and repeat as needed. I seriously love this stretch. I always feel so loose when I am done!

Strengthen Your Core

This is a quick workout that takes almost no time at all. Doing this a few times a week will help you strengthen your core muscles and improve your stability. Using the foam roller forces you to work harder since it is unstable surface, but it will still support your body weight. Here is another sampling of exercises:

  1. Sit towards the end of your foam  roller with your knees bent. Place your feet on the floor and extend your arms out on both sides. Roll down onto the foam roller till your back hits the roller and then raise yourself back up. I like to do three sets of ten.
  2. This one is hard to describe. Lie down on the center of the foam roller. Place your feet flat on the floor, keeping your knees bent. Lift one knee to your chest holding it there for a few seconds. Bring your foot back down to the floor. Try ten reps on each leg.
  3. Lie on your stomach with the foam roller under you. Lift your legs upward, extending them straight with your toes pointed. Alternatively, this can be done with one leg at a time. Do ten reps on each leg.
  4. Lie flat on your back and rest your feet on the foam roller, legs bent at the knees. Slowly lift your back and hips off the floor forming a bridge. Hold for a few seconds and repeat five to ten times.

This is just a small handful of exercises that are out there. I will be sure to update as I discover new ones ;)

To sum everything up in one sentence, the foam roller is a great piece of equipment that every runner should have in their arsenal. I would totally lost without mine!

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