Recover from a tough gym day with these exercises to help sore muscles.
Tight, achy and just plain stiff sometimes? We've all been there. While a foam roller can be a great prop for a killer workout, it's also the perfect tool to help ease aches and pains after a killer workout or particularly long day.
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These five foam roller exercises are going to make you feel so much better, especially if you commit to doing them a few times a month. Whenever you need some relief, grab a roller and do each move for one minute. The harder the roller, the more pressure it will put on your muscles.
Kneel and Roll
- Turn your roller parallel to your shoulders and start with your hands on the floor, making sure your shoulders, elbows, and wrists are aligned. Carefully bring one shin at a time on top of your roller, keeping your abs pulled in so you can stabilise.
- Carefully roll back and forth to massage your shins. Keep your core firm to ensure the pressure stays on the tops of your legs and not in the back, and maintain pressure in your hands. For an extra perk, rock side-to-side not just front-and-back.
- Start by sitting on your backside with your hands pressing firmly into the floor just behind you. With legs outstretched, bring one leg on top of the roller and cross the other ankle over the top of that leg.
- Push your backside up and off the mat without sinking into your shoulders, and roll back and forth. When you feel one side loosen up, switch to the other side.
Inner Thigh Release
- Turn your roller vertical and place it to the side of you. Lie on the mat facedown with your forearms underneath you, then bend one knee up towards your armpit to place your inner thigh on the roller.
- Roll away and back towards your hips to massage that inner thigh. Switch sides when you're ready.
“T” Chest Opener
- Keeping the roller vertical, turn to lie on top of the roller facing up, and make sure your head and tailbone are fully supported. Reach your arms up to the ceiling.
- Slowly open your arms out to a “T” position. The trick is to keep your spine on the roller and only go as far as you can without letting your ribs go. This move is great if you sit all day or feel tight in the shoulders.
“I” Shoulder Release
- Stay on top of your roller in the same starting position as the previous exercise, again making sure your head and tailbone are fully supported. Reach your arms overhead, shoulder-distance apart.
- Lower your arms to the floor behind you without losing your torso connection to the roller. Watch your range of motion and try to keep your shoulders down as you reach. If this is painful, just stop and hold wherever it feels good. As your muscles release you might be able to lower your arms more.
First published: 27 Dec 2017