TRUE LIFE: I'M IN LOVE WITH MY FOAM ROLLER

YOU HEARD ME. I'M TOTALLY, IRREVOCABLY IN LOVE WITH MY FOAM ROLLER. IT'S BEEN A LOVE AFFAIR THAT'S LASTED SEVERAL YEARS AND TO BE COMPLETELY HONEST, WHEN WE FIRST MET, I DESPISED IT. IN TIME, HOWEVER, I'VE GROWN ALMOST OBSESSED. THE TERM 'HURT SO GOOD' NEVER PROVED TRUER.

IF YOU ASK MOST RUNNERS, I'M CONFIDENT THEY'D SAY IT TOOK SOME TIME TO WARM UP TO THE TOOL, TOO. AND MANY WOULD SAY THAT THEY ONLY CAME IN CONTACT WITH ONE WHEN THEY WERE BATTLING INJURY OR REHABBING AN OLD ONE. THE TRUTH IS, IT'S PAINFUL THE FIRST TIME YOU USE ONE. BUT IF YOU START TO INCORPORATE IT INTO YOUR DAILY ROUTINE, THE PAIN DISSIPATES AND YOU'RE LEFT WITH RELIEF. IT'S A SUREFIRE WAY TO KEEP INJURY AWAY AND A POSITIVE EXERCISE TO GET BLOOD FLOW TO YOUR ACHING MUSCLES. 

TYPICALLY, I WORK ONE SIDE OF MY BODY AND THEN MOVE ONTO THE OTHER. I START WITH MY QUADS, THEN HAMSTRINGS, MOVE TO THE PIRIFORMIS MUSCLE (ESSENTIALLY, LITERALLY THAT PAIN IN YOUR BUTT) AND THEN WORK MY WAY DOWN TOWARDS THE CALF AND LOWER LEG. I FIRST GET INTO A SIDE PLANK POSITION. EXCEPT INSTEAD OF LEANING ON MY ARM, I'M ON THE PALMS OF MY HANDS AS IF I WAS DOING A WEIRD TWISTED PUSH UP. I PLACE THE FOAM ROLLER UNDER MY LEG, THEN MOVE MY OTHER LEG UP AND OVER THE LEG RESTING ON THE ROLLER, BENDING IT. ONCE MY OTHER LEG IS STATIONARY, I BEGIN ROLLING BACK AND FORTH ALL THE WAY FROM MY HIP TO KNEE, USING THE BENT LEG AS LEVERAGE TO THRUST MYSELF BACK AND FORTH. I DO THIS FOR 2 MINS THEN ROLL OVER SO THAT THE FOAM ROLLER IS NOW UNDER MY HAMSTRING AND MY BODY IS DIRECTLY OVER IT. I THEN ROLL BACK AND FORTH FROM BACK OF MY KNEE UP TO MY BUTT FOR ANOTHER 2 MINUTES. 

TO WORK MY PIRIFORMIS MUSCLE, I SIT ON THE FOAM ROLLER AND LIFT THE LEG OF THE AFFECTED SIDE AND REST IT ON THE OTHER LEG. THINK SITTING INDIAN STYLE, BUT ONLY WITH ONE LEG CROSSED, THE OTHER IS BENT. I BEND THE ALTERNATE LEG AND ROCK BACK AND FORTH SORT OF LEANING INTO THE ROLLER. I DO THIS FOR 2 MINS AS WELL.

AFTER THIS PORTION IS COMPLETE, I MOVE THE ROLLER UNDER MY CALF. TO GET A DEEPER MASSAGE, I LIFT MYSELF OFF THE GROUND AND MOVE FORWARD AND BACKWARD ALLOWING THE FOAM ROLLER TO ROLL FROM THE BACK OF MY ANKLE ALL THE WAY TO THE BACK OF ME KNEE. LIKE ALL OF THE OTHER AREAS, I DO THIS FOR 2 MINS. I'LL TURN SIDE TO SIDE AND KIND OF ROLL LEFT AND RIGHT TO HIT MORE OF THE TENDER AREAS OF MY CALVES. I THEN REPEAT THIS PROCESS ON THE OTHER LEG.

I TRY TO DO THIS MORNING AND NIGHT ALONG WITH OTHER MOBILITY STRETCHES AND TECHNIQUES. FOAM ROLLING INCREASES CIRCULATION, WHICH MEANS FASTER WARM UP AND RECOVERY FOR YOUR MUSCLES. IT BREAKS UP THE KNOTS WHICH LIMIT YOUR OVERALL MOBILITY, WHICH IS ALSO WHY IT CAN BE A BIT PAINFUL. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FOAM ROLLING PRE AND POST RUN VERSUS ORDINARY STRETCHING IS IMMENSE, AT LEAST FOR ME. THE FOAM ROLLER LOOSENS EVERYTHING UP SO YOU CAN FIND AN EVEN DEEPER STRETCH. I FIND ALMOST INSTANT RELIEF AFTER ROLLING. USING THIS IN CONJUNCTION WITH EPSOM SALT BATHS, DRINKING TART CHERRY JUICE AND A VARIETY OF OTHER MOBILITY EXERCISES/STRETCHES COMBAT INJURY AND KEEP ME FEELING HEALTHY AND STRONG.

FUN FACT: I'M SO IN LOVE I TAKE IT WITH ME WHEN I TRAVEL (INSERT CRYING LAUGHING EMOJI) I'VE LOOKED INTO PORTABLE ONES, BUT I DON'T FEEL THEY YEILD THE SAME RESULTS AS A TRADITIONAL HARD FOAM ROLLER.

IF YOU GUYS HAVE QUESTIONS OR WOULD LIKE TO SEE A VIDEO TUTORIAL, OR HAVE SOME TRICKS/TIPS OF YOUR OWN, COMMENT BELOW. I'D LOVE TO SHARE MORE ANYWAY I CAN.