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Roll Into Better Fitness With a Foam Roller

February 27, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 176

When it comes to exercising, little problems can add up to major setbacks if you ignore them.

Conversely, little improvements can result in big gains. One of the best little pieces of advice I've received at the gym lately is to give a foam roller a try to improve flexibility in my IT bands (Iliotibial).

The IT band - which extends from the pelvis over the hip and knee - is very important for stabilizing the knee during running. If it becomes inflamed a variety of knee and leg problems can follow.

Massage is a great way to stretch out the IT bands and release tension, but most of us don't have the time or money to regularly see a massage therapist.

However, a foam roller is an excellent way to get what trainers and therapists call myofascial release, Muscle Activation (MAT) or Active Release Therapy (ART).

Commonly available for around $35, foam rollers are a great way to prevent injuries and actually increase performance by improving flexibility.

Foam rollers, which come in one-foot or three-foot long cylindrical sizes, are made of hard foam.To get a great IT band massage with a foam roller, lay on the floor or a trainer's table on your side and roll back and forth over the roller between your knee and hip. To work the lower leg, roll back and forth from above your ankle to the knee.

It will take a little while to get the hang of it, but by using your own body weight you'll find sore spots. The idea is to massage those areas to release the tension and decrease muscle density.

It can feel fairly painful, but in time you'll work through the tightness and the temporary discomfort. It's a great way to get long massage strokes on the big muscles in the legs, such as the quads, hamstrings and calves in addition to the IT bands.

Most trainers recommended to use a foam roller for 5-10 minutes before a workout and in conjunction with other stretching you might do.

You may even notice a difference if you use a foam roller after just a few treatments before jumping onto the treadmill or elliptical machine, or going outside for a jog.

You can also use the roller for a few minutes after the workout.

Although not as common, foam rollers can also be used to massage upper body muscles.

Find all your home fitness equipment needs at, including Home Gyms, Treadmills, Exercise Bikes, Free Weights and more.

Aaron Dorksen, sports editor of The Daily Record in Wooster, Ohio, has won numerous Associated Press state and national awards. He was voted Ohio AP sports writer of the year in 2006. Dorksen was a scholastic multi-sport athlete and is still a competitive slowpitch softball player, while also remaining an avid weightlifter, cyclist and runner.

Source: EzineArticles
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