Foam Rolling Quads – Pillar Health

What is a foam roller?

A foam roller is a cylinder of compressed foam. Foam rollers come in various sizes and degrees of firmness but all work as a tool to self-administer deep tissue massage. 

What are the benefits of foam rolling? 

Clinicians commonly recommend foam rollers to clients as a self massage or self-myofascial release technique that can safely and effectively relieve tension, tightness and pain. The foam roller has a variety of health benefits including:

  • Help to improve joint range of movement.
  • Assist in the breaking down of scar tissue.
  • Helps to maintain muscle length through remedying tension and tightness. 
  • Removal of waste products in the tissue.

How to use a Foam Roller. 

Foam rolling can be an effective tool to add as a part of a warm up or a cool down. It can be used before you exercise or after you exercise or as part of a daily stretching routine. If you are new to foam rolling here’s how to do it! 

Foam rolling the Quadriceps (Quads)

The Quadriceps are a group of four muscles on the front of your thigh that work together to straighten your knee and bend the hip joint. The Quads play a crucial role in walking, running, jumping and squatting movements. Sore quads? Here is how you foam roll them:

  1. Lie face-down over your foam roller with it placed just above your knees.
  2. Bracing yourself with your upper body on the floor, begin to slowly roll your body backwards until the roller reaches your hips. Then roll in the opposite direction towards your knees. 
  3. Perform the movement slowly and steadily until you feel the uncomfortable sensation ease.
  4. Single leg option – If not too uncomfortable, place the foam roller under one leg and keep that foot off the ground. Shift as much weight as you can tolerate onto that leg and roll forwards and backwards.

    quad foam rolling

Foam rolling the Tensor Fasciae Latae (TFL)

The TFL is a small but mighty muscle that performs various functional roles to help your hip move.  Its major role is to bend and stabilise the hip joint and the knee joint through its connection to the Iliotibial Band (ITB). Here’s how you foam roll the TFL:

  1. Let’s start with the right TFL. 
  2. Use your right thumb to locate the pointy bone on the front of your hip. Once your thumb is placed over this point, make a fist. Your fist now represents your TFL. 
  3. Place the foam roller on the floor and lay the part of your hip that you have located with your hand on top of the roller. Your tummy should face the ground and you can use your forearms, hands and other leg to adjust yourself accordingly. 
  4. It is likely that you will feel a deep, achey sensation. Hold this for 30 seconds or so. You do not need to move back and forth. 

TFL foam rolling

Foam rolling the Hamstrings

The Hamstrings are a group of three muscles that run down the back of your leg from your thigh to your knee. The Hamstrings play a major role in bending your knee and extending your hip joint. Here’s how you foam roll your Hamstrings:

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs out in front of you. 
  2. Place the foam roller underneath your legs, just above your knees. 
  3. Place your hands behind your body and press your body weight through your hands so that your hips lift off the floor. Aim for half of your body weight on the foam roller and half of your body weight through your hands.
  4. Roll your body forwards and backwards over the foam roller from the top of the knee to the hip and back again. Making sure to stop along the way when a particular point feels tight and uncomfortable
  5. Go slowly and steadily and repeat this process for 1 minute before changing sides.

 

Hamstring foam rolling

Foam rolling the Glutes

The Glutes are a group of three muscles that play a huge roll in movements like running, jumping and squatting as well as basic movements like standing from a seated position. Outlined below are two ways to foam roll the Glutes. 

Beginner:
  1. Sit on top of your foam roller.
  2. Keep one leg straight and bend your other knee, placing the foot of the bent knee flat on the floor.
  3. Angle your body to the side so that your weight is on the buttock cheek of the extended leg.
  4. Find your point of balance and move your hips in a circular motion by pushing through your planted foot. 
  5. Go slowly and steadily and repeat this process for 1 minute before changing sides.
Advanced: 
  1. Sit down on top of your foam roller with your knees bent, feet flat and your hands placed behind you. 
  2. From this position, cross your right ankle onto your left knee. You will likely feel a stretch into the right Glute. 
  3. Gently, roll your body forwards and backwards to feel an increased stretch or alternatively, hold your body weight still on the foam roller. 
  4. Go slowly and steadily, and aim for 1 minute on each side.Glute foam rolling

Foam rolling the Calves

The “Calf” refers to the muscles on the back of the lower leg. These muscles are essential for walking and running and generating power to propel you upwards and forwards. Here’s how to foam roll your Calves:

  1. While seated on the ground, place the foam roller underneath your lower leg (calf muscle) and place your other leg on the floor to support some of your weight. 
  2. Place your hands behind your body and press your weight through your hands so that your hips lift off the floor. 
  3. Roll your body forwards and backwards over the foam roller, from the ankle to the knee and back, making sure to focus on the tight spots along the way. 
  4. Go slowly and steadily and repeat this process for 1 minute before changing sides.calves foam rolling

Foam rolling the lower back

This foam rolling technique helps to relieve tension in your lower back. Avoid putting too much pressure in this area. If discomfort persists, speak with your Physiotherapist. 

  1. Lie on your back and position the foam roller horizontally below your lower back. 
  2. Bend your knees into your chest, placing your hands behind your thighs or on your shins.
  3. Gently rock your weight to the right side so the left side of your lower back slightly lifts of the foam roller. 
  4. Hold for a moment and then gently rock towards the left so that the right side of your lower back slightly lifts off the foam roller. 
  5. Repeat, rocking side-to-side for a minute or so.foam rolling lower back

Using a foam roller on the upper back

This foam rolling technique can help to relieve tension in the upper back region. It also helps to alleviate poor posture. Here’s how to foam roll your upper back. 

  1. Lie down on the floor with your foam roller placed underneath your upper back. 
  2. Cross your hands across your chest and with your feet planted on the floor, raise your hips off the ground, placing your weight on the roller. 
  3. Roll back and forth, between your lower neck and mid back. Stopping at tight areas along the way. 
  4. Ensure that you don’t place too much pressure through your neck.upper back foam rolling

Be careful on your first try. 

Foam rolling can be uncomfortable at first, be sure to ease into it and if discomfort persists, speak with your Physiotherapist

Choosing a foam roller 

If you are new to using a foam roller, then a low density foam roller is a good option that is suitable to most people. A firm, high-density foam roller can deliver a deeper tissue massage through its ability to provide increased levels of pressure. Both the low density and high density foam rollers look similar. 

foam roller

You may have seen textured foam rollers that have ridges or knobs on the outside. These are not for the faint hearted! Textured foam rollers can be a good option for specific body areas, but can be a little too aggressive on others. We advise that you chat to your Physiotherapist about this option to see whether a textured foam roller is suitable for you.

Make an appointment

To learn more about how to use a foam roller call us on (03) 8899 6277 or book online