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Foam Rolling: The Lower Body

 

This blog post is brought to you by Daniel Wilson Sports Injury Management. You can find us at www.sportsmassagescotland.com

 

 

 

What is Foam Rolling?

Though most people well have seen or, at least, heard of a foam roller, seldom do people know how to get the best out of them. When you unlock the secret of how to use the jewel of the self-massage industry, it will become your new best friend. When used correctly, it can help release the tightness and tension between the muscle and the fascia (which encases both muscles and groups of muscles). This tightness is often caused by repetitive movement patterns. Sports such as running is a prime example, but it can be anything in life that has a repetitive movement pattern. Incorporating a foam rolling session into your weekly workout regime along with stretches will not only increase both your flexibility and range of movement, it will also decrease your risk of injury.

 

How is it done?

With foam rolling, you use your bodyweight and roll yourself back and forth across desired area. Should you find this too painful, you can simply shift some of your weight elsewhere using your arms (away from where the foam roller is making contact with the body) and go a little more gently on it. Alternatively, you can go deeper by adding more weight to it by positioning more of your mass over the point of contact. By doing this, you will always be working within your own pain threshold.

 

Tibialis Anterior

 

Where is the Tibialis Anterior?

This is the outside portion of your lower leg which is often associated with shin splints. This is the muscle is responsible for pulling the toes up (also known as dorsiflexion), and is used when walking or running as a result of the ankle and/or foot being flexed. These muscles also there to stabilise the ankle.

 

How to foam roll the Tibialis Anterior:

Starting at the top of the muscle (near the knee), we then work down muscle and back up again. Some people do this in more of a kneeling position but as with all foam rolling stretches, you might need to adjust to target the muscle.

 

Soleus

 

Where is the Soleus?

The Soleus is quite simply the large muscle in the middle-lower of the calf (found on the back of your lower leg). This is one of the two main muscles used to perform plantar flexion (pointing the toes down).

 

How to foam roll the Soleus:

Simply sit the muscle on the roller and raise yourself up with your arms. With your other leg, place it over your initial leg in a crossed fashion.

 

Gastrocnemius

 

Where is the Gastrocnemius?

The Gastrocnemius is the larger calf muscle which sits above the Soleus muscle (which when well developed, can sit out from the rest of the calf). It is the other main muscle involved in plantar flexion.

 

How to foam roll the Gastrocnemius:

Done similarly to the Soleus above, but slightly inclined inwards so that the inner calf can also be targeted.

 

Vastus Medialis

 

Where is the Vastus Medialis?

Simply explained, it is the large muscle of the inner-top of the thigh (part of the quadriceps muscle group).

 

How to foam roll the Vastus Medialis:

The best method to roll the Vastus Medialis is to position yourself in the plank (everyone’s least favourite ab exercise, I know) and perform a slight rotation inward. This exercise is also performed with one leg placed over the other.

 

Vastus Lateralis

 

Where is the Vastus Lateralis?

It is the large muscle which can be found on the outside of the thigh.

 

How to foam roll the Vastus Lateralis muscle:

To roll the Vastus Lateralis, it is done so in a side plank type position. The spare leg placed across the other leg to create a triangle type shape and the arm on the rolled side is used as a support via the use of the forearm.

 

Glutes

 

Where are the Glutes?

The Glutes muscle group (commonly known as bum muscles) are found at the top of the thigh.

 

How to foam roll the Glutes muscles:

It is done so similarly to the Vastus Lateralis position, but instead with a slight inward rotation.

 

All of these rolling movements are done so in backward and forward manner several times until a relaxation of tension in the desired muscle is felt.

 

This blog post is brought to you by Daniel Wilson Sports Injury Management. You can find us at www.sportsmassagescotland.com

 

 

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