We talk a lot about what to do for your actual workout, but what about after it's all said and done and your body is a tight ball of soreness? We asked our fitness expert Jamie Atlas to show us some strategies to keep ourselves flexible and pain free, using a tool you can find in any athletics store or gym, the foam roller.
Foam Rollers heads up
Rolling can help break up scar tissue, release adhesions, can activate blood flow to the muscle and help with pain reduction. But be sure not to use them for too long or to be too aggressive with your roller. Aim for working the right spot that is 7-8/10 painful and for no longer than 2-3 minutes with a minimum 1 minute rest inbetween.
To perform this movement sit up with your legs straight in front. Allow the weight of your legs to load the roller - for extra weight and tension on the back of the calves, cross one leg over the other. If you have a partner you can ask them to gently press on your calves as well.
Getting our butt muscles to release allows them to recover faster (so we can work them again sooner!) sit on the roller with your knees bent and feel for the gap in your muscle that is just above the sitting bone of your pelvis but below the top of your pelvis at the waistline. Cross one leg over and lean to the same side as the lifted leg. Roll gently back and forth to find the perfect 'hot spot' then roll back and forth in a 2-3 inch radius.
Upper back release
Posture and gravity can get the better of us from time to time, but there's few movements at the end of the day that beat this one for correcting your body position. Lying back on the roll, roll gently forward and back with your hands behind your head and your elbows pointing towards the sky. If you're lucky, you'll get a couple of satisfying cracks and pops as your spine realigns under the pressure of the roller.
Jamie Atlas has been awarded best personal trainer in Denver 8 times since 2009. He trains out of his personal training studio on 1800 Glenarm place, Denver. You can read more about him at www.jamieatlas.com, call (720) 257 9328 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.