We know foam rolling (a form of self-myofascial release or self-massage) boasts big benefits such as easing muscle soreness and aiding recovery.
But the foam roller's round, unstable design also makes it a useful tool for challenging your balance and building strength. “Doing a plank on the roller or balancing your feet on it creates instability for strength-based movements, which causes you to engage more muscles to stabilize and will, in turn, make you stronger.
So grab your foam roller and give this workout a try!
Foam Roller Workout:
Do 10 to 20 reps of each move. Repeat the full circuit a total of 3 or 4 times.
Overhead Squat - Stand with feet turned out, slightly wider than hip width. Extend arms overhead while holding roller horizontally. Squeeze palms toward each other as you draw shoulder blades together. Keep elbows in line with or behind ears to engage upper back and arms. Send hips back to sit into a deep squat. Press up through heels to return to starting position.
Hamstring Bridge - Lie faceup with palms facing down and foam roller under feet. Lift hips into a bridge position so hips, knees, and heels are in line. With control, slowly rock your hips towards the ceiling. Engage hamstrings to keep roller from slipping.
Make it harder: Place palms on ground facing up.
Table Roll - Sit upright with legs extended and ankles on foam roller. Place hands on floor behind you, fingertips facing feet. With straight legs, thrust hips up as high as you can and look toward ceiling as roller moves up calves. Keeping hips lifted, slowly swing them back between arms as roller moves to heels. Continue going back and forth in a controlled movement without letting hips touch floor.
Make it easier: Turn fingertips away from you.
Plank and Plank Jacks - Start in plank position with hands on roller directly under shoulders. Hop feet open and closed as you would for a jumping jack, staying on toes. Keep a slight bend in knees as you land.
Make it harder: Increase speed and intensity to engage core more.
Airplane - Stand on both feet and hold roller behind back with fingertips facing away. Transfer weight onto right leg and lift left leg into an airplane position (or warrior III for yogis) as chest hinges forward. Squeeze shoulder blades together and away from ears. Pulse the roller up about 3 inches toward ceiling. Keep arms as straight as possible to activate triceps, delts, and lats.
Single Leg Wall Sit - Lean against wall and sit so knees are at a 90-degree angle. Place roller horizontally behind back, just below shoulder blades, and extend both arms. Raise right flexed foot off ground, keeping knees in line and hips level. Push through left heel to stand about 3 inches, using roller to slide up wall, then return to starting position. Repeat on other side
Jack Knife - Here’s a great move for fab abs. (A) Lie on your back, holding the roll the long way at the top end above your body. (B) Bend your knees and lift them up toward your hands, pinching the lower end of the roll between your feet. (C) Release the roll from your hands, then extend both arms and legs out (the roll is between your feet/legs). (D) Slowly bring legs and arms back in, passing the roll from feet to hands then extending your body again (roll is now in your hands)
Push - Up - Slide your roller under your toes and come up into high plank position. This will force your body to work harder to stabilize. Then lower your torso towards the ground to preform a push-up.
When you are done let me know what you think!