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Foam roller exercises: legs

The following exercises are taken from the Engage Health exercise sheet, created exclusively for iHealthSphere.

RELATED: Foam Roller Exercises Introduction || Foam roller exercises: hips / glutes

Quadriceps

Quads foam rollingPosition: Lie face down with the roller positioned directly under your thighs. Bend your elbows so that your forearms are flat on the floor to support your weight - your feet should be suspended above the floor as shown.

Roll: Engage your core muscles and keep them drawn in. Use your arms to gently roll your body forward and back to move the roller up and down from your pelvic bone to just above your knees.Tip: Tuck your chin and try not to look at your legs as you roll. Keep your neck in neutral position. Only go as low as the middle back. It is never a good idea to roll through your lower lumbar spine.

Tip: If you want to increase the pressure and the intensity, stack your feet so that you roll one quadricep at a time.

Benefits: The quadriceps can easily become shortened and affect the function of the hips. This places additional stress and strain on the lower back. Releasing tightness in the quadriceps will prevent the pelvis from being tilted out of its natural ā€˜Sā€™ shape

Iliotibial (IT) Band

IT band foam rollingPosition: Your left hip should be against the broad side of a roller on the floor. Cross your right leg over your left as shown to anchor and support you. Both hands should be on the ground for support.

Roll: Using your left arm to assist the motion, roll your thigh back and forth over the roller from just below your hip to above your knee. Continue rolling and then switch positions to work your right leg.

Tip: It is not recommended to roll too hard on this area. Apply light to moderate pressure by keeping your top leg anchored in place to take some of the pressure off.

Benefits: The ITB runs all the way from the outside hip to just below the knee. Because of its location and its length, it is highly susceptible to pain and injury. Tightness of this band can often result in a lateral pull of the patella, resulting in misalignment of the knee joint and resulting knee pain.

Hamstrings

Hamstring foam rollingPosition: Sit with your legs extended in front of you as shown and the roller positioned directly under your thigh. Place your hands flat on the floor behind you for support.

Roll: Using your arms to initiate the motion, slowly roll back and forth, moving the roller up and down from the bottom of your glutes to just above your knee.

Tip: As you roll, try rotating your leg in and out from the hips. This will allow you to massage your hamstrings more thoroughly.

Benefits: When you sit in a chair all day, your hamstrings are in constant flexion. This results in short, tight muscles. The hamstrings attach directly to the pelvis. This means that tightness in these muscles will pull on the pelvis, causing it to tilt and increasing the risk of lower back pain and injury.

Calves

calves roam rollingPosition: Sit on the floor with the roller underneath your calves. Place your hands on the floor behind you and raise your hips off the floor - all of your body weight should be on your hands and the roller.

Roll: Slowly roll forward and back to move the roller up and down from just below your knees to above your ankles.

Tip: Cross one leg over the other to increase the pressure and roll one leg at a time. You can also turn your feet in or out as you roll to change

Benefits: Tight calves are a common problem and many things we do negatively affect our calves. From the shoes we wear to the way we sit in a chair, our calves are in a shortened position most of the time. Releasing tight calves will improve range of motion of the ankle and ensure function up the rest of the body is not affected.

View related:
  • Foam roller exercises: back
  • Foam roller exercises: legs
  • Foam roller exercises: hips / glutes

  • Download: foam roller exercises
    Wherever you are you can follow these great exercises by downloading our exercise sheet. Print, share and take with you on the go!

    Foam Roller Exercise Sheet

    Foam rolling exercises


    About Engage Health
    Engage Health is a leading provider of occupational health and injury prevention programs. They specialise in reducing the incidence and severity of soft tissue and mental health injuries through functional and sustainable injury prevention programs.Their Mindfulness-based programs effectively reduce stress within the corporate environment and improve performance within the sporting and athletic arena. Sally Cumming is the director of Engage Health. She is an ESSA Accredited Exercise Physiologist and Mindfulness Educator with a passion for creating healthier, safer and more productive workplaces. These foam roller exercises will help to limit soreness and tightness by increasing blood flow and flexibility.



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