When you reach for the foam roller to smooth your muscles, you may be a bit too aggressive for your own good. Take a tip from coach Charlee Atkins, C.S.C.S., and relax.
"I change a lot of my male client with this one," she says about her handling of the tools. "For some reason, it's believed that attacking the foam roller is the best way to use it – not an insult."
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When you forget about rolling and rolling, Atkins offers a gentler approach.
"As you move from one side to the other, you are rolling up and down over the fabric creating a cross-rubbing," says Atkins. "The side-to-side approach allows you to break the fibers more clearly, imagine using a rolling pin to roll (dry) spaghetti up and down – or you could roll perpendicular to the noodles, which is an excellent result allows opportunity to separate them. "
To get the most out of this movement, you definitely need a foam roller. If you do not have a cell phone handy, check out this Triggerpoint vibration option or another one for a good fit.
- Place the foam roller face down in the middle of your thigh (on the quad muscle).
- Instead of rolling the quad up and down, turn it to the left and right (or from east to west).
- Move slowly over the entire length of the quads.
- Apply the same principles to the calves.
Try loosening your new foam technique before or after training, or when your lower body feels particularly tense. For the quads and calves, aim for 12 to 15 lateral reps on both legs.
Want to know more about Atkins? Take a look at our series with their tips, Try Her Move.