Whether you’re a runner or not, we’ve all felt the aches.
The throbbing. The pain that can come with tight, sore muscles. The voice in your head yelling, “I need a massage like nobody’s business.”
Turns out you can have an on-call masseuse in your home for just a few dollars.
The masseuse is you, and you don’t need a massage table or oils or soothing music or any of that. All you need is your own body — and a foam roller.
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Foam rolling allows you to serve as your own masseuse by using your body weight to create pressure on your body’s tight spots. Holding a particular position for a length of time can help relieve tightness in sore spots — something that every person training to run a marathon undoubtedly has.
“It gets a little deeper and helps break the muscle down and forces it to be more flexible,” said Dr. Mandy Wyant, a chiropractor at Family Chiropractic & Wellness in Columbus.
So how does this magical tool work? Here’s a brief breakdown of some of the areas runners might want to focus on most, along with some demonstrations from Wyant:
Sit with one leg on top of the roller and the other leg crossed over the top of it, placing your hands behind you and holding your body off of the ground. Guide your leg over the roller, moving up and down from knee to ankle. (Note: This can be performed with both legs on the roller at once, but the application of less pressure on the muscles will make the move less effective.)HamstringsSit on top of the foam roller, placing your hands on the ground for support. Roll up and down from the knee to just under your butt. As with the calves, this can be done with one leg at a time or both at once, but the move is more effective with more pressure placed on a single leg.
To work the IT band — the ligament that runs down the side of your leg from the hip to the shin — lie on your side with the foam roller under your hip, using an elbow and hand for support. Slowly roll up and down, moving the roller from hip to knee.
Placing your hands behind you, sit with the foam roller directly underneath your piriformis (butt cheek). Roll back and forth or side to side, holding on tight spots throughout, to release tension.
To work on the quads and hip flexors, lie face down on the floor with the roller under your hips. Lean on one leg, rolling up and down from the knee to just below the waist.
Lying on the floor with the roller under your back, tighten your abs and bend your knees to move the roller up and down your back between your waist and shoulder blades.For more spinal work, turn the roller vertically to align with your spine, lying on top of it. Relax your shoulders and rest your arms on the floor, holding the position with your head and spine flat on the roller.