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6 Foam Rolling Exercises for Runners

July 29, 2015

  • by
  • Ethan Healy

Training regularly? Dealing with muscle soreness?  Foam rolling is a simple addition to your pre- and post-running routine to significantly increase flexibility, relieve pain and accelerate recovery. These 6 foam rolling exercises for runners will have you limbered up instead of limping home. 

When to foam roll

  • Before you run: foam rolling acts as a warm-up and prepares your legs better than static stretching.
  • After you run: foam rolling aids in recovery and helps to restore flexibility.  Ideally, you both foam roll and static stretch following a run.
  • Between workouts: sometimes muscles soreness continues or manifests after a specific workout.  Foam roll between workouts to avoid further soreness and to work out the kinks in your muscles.

How to foam roll

  • Move about an inch every few seconds as you roll down the muscle group you’re working on.
  • Pause for a few seconds on particularly sore/painful spots.  Lingering over a sore spot releases the built up fascia that’s causing the pain while improving your flexibility and reducing future soreness.
  • Maintain the right amount of pressure on the foam roll at all times. Find a happy medium between smashing down on the foam roll and barely touching it at all. 

Where to foam roll

1. Calves:

Lay one of your legs on top of the foam roll about an inch and a half above your heel.  Use your opposite leg to stabilize yourself on the ground, push up off the ground with your arms and roll towards the top of your calf.  Repeat on the other leg.

2. Hamstrings:

Same as with the calves, lay one leg on the foam roll just behind your knee.  Using your opposite leg as stabilization, roll up to your glute and repeat on the other leg.                      

3. Quads:

Face down, lay one leg on the foam roller just above your knee, keeping that foot off the ground. Place your forearms on the ground as if you’re doing a plank, and using your opposite leg as stabilization; roll up to your pelvis. Repeat on your other leg.

4. IT Band:

Lay on your side, placing your down arm parallel to the ground like you would on a side plank.  Position the foam roller under your leg, just below your hipbone. Cross your upper leg over your down leg to stabilize and propel yourself on the foam roll.  Roll down to your knee as needed, switch legs and repeat.

5. Groin:

Lay down with one inner thigh on the foam roll and your opposite leg straight back to stabilize and control weight. Roll from your inner thigh out to your knee as needed, repeat on your other leg.

6. Glutes:

Cross one leg over the other and sit on the foam roll with only one glute touching. Roll back and forth on that glute as needed, repeat on your other leg.

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