Foam Roller Technique
How foam rolling can help your exercise technique
Poor technique in fitness can be due to many things, including injury, fatigue and novelty of the exercise. However, most personal trainers and sports coaches will admit that many failures in technique can be from a lack in the range of range of motion, due to muscle imbalances.
Muscles work in pairs. If one muscle is tight then its opposing muscle is lengthened, this is how the muscles contract and move our bones. Unfortunately having muscle tension imbalances can cause the body to move in altered patterns to find a comfortable movement, and can also cause a limited range of motion around joints.
A common technique faults in the squat is the heels rising up off the floor, due to lack of range of motion in the ankle joint. To combat this it’s important to foam roll the calves.
- Sitting on the floor with legs extended, place the roller under one calf.
- Rest other foot on the floor, with hands on the floor behind you.
- Lifting the butt off the floor, using the arms for support roll from the ankle to the knee.
With lunges (and squats) one thing to be careful of is an excessive forward lean. Whilst the lunge and squat have a slight forward lean an excessive forward lean is one where the upper body is no longer in line with the rear thigh. This can be seen in people with tight hip flexors so for those with the excessive forward lean a hip flexor foam rolling exercise would be beneficial.
- Lie face down with one hip on top of a foam roller, and the other leg extended.
- Slowly roll up and down a few inches to find any trigger points.
- Also try moving laterally, and repeating the exercise to find any tight spots.
Overhead press / pull up
Whether as a push or pulling motion moving the arms overhead with tight lats can be a problem. It’s difficult to get full extension in the arms with a limited range of motion in the shoulder. Tight lats can also cause issues with tricep overhead extension and overhead squat. If the arms are overhead by the side of the head and full extension in the arms cannot be reached then it’s possible the lats are tight. Many people compensate in this movement by allowing the arms to fall forwards. Foam rolling the lats along with static stretches should help.
- Lie on the floor on your right side with arm stretched out overhead and the foam roller under the right armpit.
- Supporting on a bent left leg roll down from the lower armpit to the middle of the ribcage
- Repeat on the other side