Foam Rolling for Runners: Lower Body Eight Minute Sequence


This is a lower body sequence that should only take you about eight minutes to perform. You can watch the video, or follow the “Foam rolling for runners: lower body sequence” picture tutorial below.

Sit on your foam roller. Cross your left ankle up and over your right knee. If you lack the flexibility to get into this position, just let your left leg extend slightly out in front of you. Lean onto your left hand, and lean your body slightly to the left. Start to make small rolls back and forth until you find a tight spot. Roll that tight spot for about 30 seconds. Find the next spot by leaning slightly more to the left. You can lean your bodyweight far forward to get pressure onto the lower part of the glutes, and lean far back to get to the top portion. If your wrists hurt in this position, you can make a fist with your hand instead. Alternatively, you can prop your hand up onto a yoga block. Spend 1-2 minutes on this side, and then switch to the other side.

Scoot just behind your foam roller and position yourself so the backs of your legs (hamstrings) are on top of the foam roller. Post up onto your hands, and roll either both legs at once or one leg at a time. You can get more pressure focusing on one leg at a time. You have inner and outer hamstrings, so if you feel tighter in your inner hamstrings, spin your entire leg inward. And vice versa.

Move the roller slightly down towards your feet so it is under your calves. Press your hands into the floor in order to lift your hips up. This gives you the opportunity to create more pressure going into your calves. If you feel like you don’t need more pressure, or your wrists hurt in this position, then simply lower your butt to the ground and press your lower leg into the roller. It works better to do one leg at a time, and you can press your opposite leg down onto your shin using it like a sandbag to smoosh your calf into the roller. As with the hamstrings, you can twist your straight leg inward and outward to target the inner and outer portions of the calf muscles respectively.

This is the alternate position, wherein you keep your butt on the ground to take pressure off your wrists.

For your hips, lie on the roller as shown. Working one section at a time, make slow rolls back and forth along the side of the hip and down the outer seam of your pants. This targets the ITB (Iliotibial band), a tricky band of connective tissue that often tightens up in runners. Your top leg crosses over and acts as a kickstand to modulate pressure. The stronger you press your foot into the floor, the less pressure you feel on the ITB. The third photo shows an alternate position if this first suggestion bothers your shoulder or wrist.

To roll your quads, place the roller underneath you, and then make sure your core is braced so your lower back doesn’t sag down. Use your forearms to drive the motion to create a rolling pattern up and down your quads. If you need more pressure, scoot one knee out to the side and roll out one quadricep at a time.

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