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Rolling muscles – 7 exercises, that every runner should know

Publish date 31.08.2022

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Rolling muscles – 7 exercises, that every runner should know

Do you want to run well, to see your body get stronger and sturdier? Surely, you also don’t want to expose yourself to an injury that could put you out of running for up to several months. To achieve all this it is important not only to have regular running training but also exercises such as stretching and rolling. 

In this article, we’ll show you why foam rolling exercises for runners are important, how to do them correctly, and most importantly, we’ll show you basic exercises that will help you stretch your muscles and prevent injury. 

Foam rolling exercises – why should you do them?

As you yourself surely know, the muscles during running work very intensively – especially the leg muscles. That’s why it’s important to stretch them well after training. If you don’t, you will need a longer time to recover and return to full form. What’s more, they may get injured more easily the next time you run. 

That’s why you should take time after training to do foam rolling exercises. Runners should do them regularly. This kind of self-massage on a foam roller eliminates contractures and makes your muscles more flexible. What’s more, the exercises will improve your fitness!

What’s more:

  • with these exercises, your muscles will return to their original state, thus reducing the risk of injury,
  • improve muscle mobility, so they will be more limber and mobile, 
  • reduce tension in your muscles, so you will reduce the risk of injury,
  • foam rolling exercises for runners make the body relax and rest, thus reducing fatigue. 
Foam rolling exercises for runners
Do foam rolling exercise regularly to make muscles more flexible.

How often should you do the foam rolling exercises for runners?

You should do foam rolling exercises every time you run. You should make it part of your routine after running and spend several minutes stretching your muscles after each run. As you have read earlier in this article, this is extremely important for the proper recovery of your body. 

Self-massage does not take much time. Therefore, you can do such exercises even before going to bed – they affect a strong and healthy sleep. Moreover, you can use this type of exercise also, as a warm-up. However, in this case, the types of exercises will be different from those we will present to you below. 

If you want, you can also set aside one day a week and do a full session of muscle rolling exercises. This will certainly have a positive effect on your body, mood, and recovery.

What equipment will you need to perform foam rolling exercises?

In order to properly perform muscle rolling, you will need to equip yourself with the necessary equipment. You will need:

  • a large smooth foam roller for muscles – this is a normal-sized roller that you will get in many stores. It will be used for self-massage of legs, back, and other large muscle groups. 
  • mini foam roller for runners – this is a small roller. It is perfect for areas where you feel pain because it perfectly hits the source of pain. 
  • duoball – these are two balls connected to each other. They are used to roll the back extensor and do not put unnecessary pressure on the vertebrae.
  • massage ball – with this exercise device you will massage small parts of the body for example neck, biceps, and feet. 

1. Foam rolling exercises for calves

For this exercise, you need a large smooth roller for muscles. 

  • Sit on the ground with your legs straight.
  • Place one leg on the roller so that the roller is roughly in the middle of your calf (self-massage should be performed along the muscle – this is why the foam roller should lie across the calf.)
  • Bend your other leg at the knee and lean on your foot – during this part, remember to support yourself at the back with your hands. 
  • Lift your hips upward. 
  • Push off slightly with your hands, so that your calf moves slowly up and down on the roller. 

During this movement, change the direction of your foot. In this way, you will also roll the calf more from the side, so you will perform such a massage in a more comprehensive way.

2. Foam rolling exercises for thighs

When it comes to foam rolling exercises for runners, you should not forget about the thighs. The thighs are a group of muscles that work very hard and intensely when running. They are prone to injury, so it’s a good idea to roll them after every workout, no matter how intense.

As for the thighs, you should massage them in various places. Here are some exercises for different parts of the thigh muscles. 

The inner side of the thigh

  • Lean back on your forearms. 
  • Keep one leg straight, and bend the other leg that you will be rolling at a right angle at the knee. 
  • Lay the roller perpendicular to your thigh. 
  • Start moving it up toward your groin and down toward your knee.

The outer side of the tight

  • Arrange yourself as if you want to do the plank sideways. 
  • Support yourself with the palms of both hands. 
  • Place one side of your thigh on the foam roller – this leg should be straight. 
  • Put the other leg over the massaged leg and, bent at the knee, support yourself with it in front.

Hamstring muscle group

  • Sit on the floor, and support yourself with your hands at the back. 
  • Place the back of the thigh you want to roll on a roller. 
  • Bend your other leg at the knee. 
  • Leaning on one foot and your hands, lift your hips upward. 
  • Slowly move the roller back and forth – remember not to guide the roller under the bottom of the knee.

Quadriceps

  • Do forward support so that you are resting on your forearms – in this position place the front of the thigh you want to massage on a roller. 
  • Keep the other leg straight and support yourself on its toes. 
  • Using your hands, start moving up and down.
Thighs - foam rolling exercises
Foam rolling exercises will stronger your thighs.

3. Foam rolling exercises for your back

When running, your back is also under strain. Most runners focus only on their lower body parts. However, you also need to take care of your back. This is not only an ideal exercise for runners, but also for people who have back pain or spend long hours at work in front of the computer. For this exercise, you will need a foam roller. 

  • Sit with your legs bent and rest your back on the roller so that it is at the level of your shoulder blades. 
  • Lift your hips up, resting your weight on your feet and the roller. Raise your arms straight up. 
  • Move your body downward, thereby guiding the roller up your back. 

Foam rolling exercise for your back with duoball

  • Sit up and support yourself from the back on your forearms, lift your hips up, and place the duo ball under your back at hip level. 
  • Move the duoball to your mid-back.
  • Wanting to move them higher, you must lie down on them completely, and keep your hands on your chest.

It is important to mention that duoball is really amazing for back massage. It’s ideal sports equipment for your lower back.

4. Foam rolling exercise for foot

The foot also works very intensively when running. Therefore, you should also take care of this part of the body. How to do it?

For this exercise, you will need a mini foam roller for runners. You should put the mini roller on the ground and stand in front of it. Put your foot on the equipment so that it is in the center of the roller. Shift your body weight to the leg on the roller, and then slowly move back and forth. 

This exercise will help relax the calf, Achilles tendon, and plantar fascia.

5. Foam rolling exercise for calf

The calves are muscles that are very prone to injury and often cause problems for runners. Therefore, it is important to focus on this part of the body as well after training. For this, you can use a mini foam roller for runners. 

  • Put a mini roller on the ground under the calf.
  • Rest the calf on the roller at the level of the Achilles tendon. 
  • Make downward and upward movements from the middle of the calf to the foot. 

It is important to remember to rotate the foot from side to side to massage the entire area of this part. 

6. Foam exercises for runners – neck

  • Stand against the wall where you rest the duo ball, and rest your neck on it. 
  • Move it up and down, pressing your neck firmly against the device.

When you do this type of workout, you should have in mind that smaller duoball will perform this exercise better than bigger ones.

7. Foam rolling exercise for chest

  • Place the ball on the floor or against the wall, and rest the upper and also the outer part of the chest (just below the shoulder) against it.
  • Make small circles with the ball.
  • Then point it inside your chest. 

Remember to also tilt your arm back with this exercise to expose the muscles. The benefit of this exercise is to improve shoulder mobility, which in turn has a positive effect on the whole posture.
Do you want to learn more about foam rolling? If so, check out the article – When to roll the muscles – foam rolling before or after a workout.

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