The Foam Roller
If a foam roller is not part of your home equipment – add this inexpensive piece to your must-purchase list! Regular foam rolling (also known as myofascial release) can help with muscle soreness, enhance static stretching, and improve exercise performance.
What it is
Foam rolling is essentially the cost-effective version of a deep tissue massage. Your muscles are surrounded by fascia, a type of connective tissue that can become bundled and stiff from injuries, overuse or inactivity. Smoothing and releasing the fascia can help you stretch your muscles more effectively and increase your mobility.
How to do it:
- Begin rolling over the muscle area slowly. Start with lighter pressure by not putting your full bodyweight onto the roller.
- As you move slowly, you will come across “hot spots.” Stay on that spot with gentle pressure for one to two breaths and then keep moving up, down, left or right one inch at a time.
- As you foam roll regularly, you will find fewer hot spots and that you can apply more pressure (put more of your bodyweight) into the hot spot as you roll.
- Foam rolling will feel uncomfortable but it should not be painful, so be sure to listen to your body and start with a shorter duration.
Here are 5 lower body foam rolling exercises that are especially important for cycling!
Sit on top of the foam roller and angle your body so you can control the pressure with your bodyweight. Roll on all sides of each glute.
Lie on one side with the foam roller under the bottom leg. Roll incrementally up and down. Don’t roll directly on the hip or knee joint.
Sit on the floor and place the foam roller under the back part of the thigh. Roll up and down between the glute and back part of the knee.
Sit on the floor and place the foam roller under the calf between the ankle and the back part of the knee.
Place the foam roller under the top part of the thigh with hands on the floor. Roll up and down each thigh, but not directly on the hip or knee cap. Roll through the inner thigh to hit your adductors as well.
Using these techniques after each ride will provide faster muscle recovery and reduce muscle soreness. It's a great habit to get into early and will get you looking forward to your next ICOD class sooner.