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How to Use a Foam Roller for Stretching

The foam roller acts as a sturdy base, guiding and enhancing the completion of simple bending, pulling and pushing stretches. The device helps innovative individuals create new beneficial stretches as well.

Upper Body Stretches

You can perform many traditional upper body exercises with a foam roller. Some involve muscle strengthening, while others purely extend muscles through stretching.

  • Hold the foam roller with both hands and press it against a flat floor. Fully extend the body so that both arms and legs reach a maximum length. Hold the entire body weight a few inches above the ground in a slight arch. The core and abdominal muscles endure a full extension when this position gets held and repeated.
  • Place the foam roller under your chest so that both hands rest an equal distance apart in a traditional push up position. Perform a series of push ups with multiple grips, by moving the hands closer or farther apart. Each grip will provide a stretch and exercise for different muscle groups.
  • The foam roller enhances the push up when placed under both feet. This position results in an elevated posture, requiring more of a push with the arms rather than the whole body.
  • Position the roller so that it lies horizontally along your waistline. Facing upward, gradually arch the entire back while using fully extended arms to stabilize the position. Holding the arch stretches back muscles and the vertebral column.
  • For a sternum and chest stretch, sit on the roller and place both hands behind your body for stability. Look up and backwards while trying to pinch both shoulder blades together. Hold the position and repeat for a thorough stretch.

Lower Body Stretches

Several isolated leg stretches work well with the foam roller. Stability and certain angles provide a full lineup of warm up exercises.

  • Rest the foam roller under your waistline and lay face down. Hold both feet together and curl the legs toward the lower back region, then bring them back down, but a few inches above the ground. Repeat this motion for a hamstring and glute stretch. Repeat the motion with only one leg for an individual stretch.
  • In the same position, fully extend both legs while touching the feet together. Lift the legs in this position a few inches off of the ground and continue to raise them as high as possible. Repeat the up and down motion for another hamstring and glute stretch.
  • Place the foam roller under your waist while lying on the ground sideways. Lift the upper leg in a scissor motion for a leg and oblique stretch. Repeat the exercise for both sides of the body by flipping over.

Abdominal Stretches

  • While lying face up in a fully extend position, hold the foam roller with both hands. Lift your legs and arms simultaneously and touch the roller to both feet. This stretch targets the abdominal muscles, but lightly stretches arms and legs as well.
  • Tuck the roller under your lower back and perform crunches or sit ups. Some foam rollers provide a cushion effect, so the back and neck muscles endure less strain.

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