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Pre-Practice: Foam Rolling

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Pre-Practice: Foam Rolling

Author: Arielle Parris

Foam rollers are well-known tools to dispel post-practice tightness. We’re also seeing research that shows rolling muscles out before using them makes your practice and cross-training workouts feel easier. Using a foam roller can even stimulate the release of neurotransmitters, helping to block fatigue and promote relaxation — which sounds like the perfect way to hit the mat.

If you’re interested in warming up with a foam roller, try our favorite routine:

Latissimus Dorsi (Lats)

Place the roller on the floor perpendicular to your body, directly under your right armpit. Extend your right arm and right leg along the floor while bending your left arm in front of your body and left leg behind your body as support. Roll up and down, allowing the roller to move from your armpit to just above your waist. Switch sides.

Hamstring and Glutes

Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you and the roller positioned under your thighs. Place your hands behind you for support and lift your rear off the ground. Slowly roll back and forth from the bottom of your glutes to just above your knees. Rotate your legs in and out from the hips to roll your hamstrings more thoroughly.

Calves

Place the roller flat on the floor under your calf. Rest your other foot on the floor to support the rest of your body weight. Roll from ankle to just below the knee. Stack your ankles to add pressure and get a more intense feeling. Switch sides.

Iliotibial (IT) Band

Lie on your right side with the roller just under your hip. Rest your left foot on the floor in front of your right leg. Roll along your outer thigh. Add intensity by stacking your legs. Switch sides.

Our Tips:

  1. Hydrate! Foam rolling helps hydrate your muscle tissue – so drink between 10 and 20 ounces of water before you roll. (A good idea before practice anyways!)
  2. Take your time. Spending time on painful areas means they are getting oxygen, water, and nutrients, which they desperately need. Spend 30 seconds to one minute on each side. You can spend up to two or three minutes if you’re not going straight into practice.
  3. Move all over. Don’t play it straight here — moving side-to-side and flexing and extending your limbs make for an even better experience.
  4. Do it daily. Like yoga, rolling is progressive. Spending as little as five minutes a day can make a massive difference over time.




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