Muscles develop soreness following a workout or exercise due to a build up of lactic acid. Myofascial release is an effective and relatively easy way to prevent lactic buildup and alleviate the soreness associated with it. While this can be done by a physician or massage therapist, it's possible to perform self-myofascial release as well. By using a foam roller you can roll out the lactic acid and relieve soreness in the muscles.
Choosing a Roller
You can choose a foam roller or rolling device based on a variety of factors, the most prevalent of which is density. Myofascial release is a form of trigger-point therapy and can be painful at times; depending on your muscle's level of tenderness and pain tolerance, you will want to select a roller with a matching density. For a very sore muscle or low pain tolerance, foam rollers with low density are a good fit, while people with a high pain tolerance or especially dense muscle may opt for a harder surface.
Rolling the Quadriceps
The quadriceps muscle group is located on the anterior (front) of the thigh, and can be especially sore or accumulate lactic acid after activities involving jumping or running. To roll out the quadriceps muscle, lie on your stomach and position the roller just above the knees. Using your arms to move, roll your body on the roller from just above the knees to just below the hips. Roll slowly on tender areas; repeat for five to 10 repetitions.
The hamstring muscle group is the back of the thigh, and it's important for flexibility and lower back health. To roll the hamstrings, begin in a seated position with legs straight, the roller positioned under the legs just past the knees. Roll your muscles from just above the knee to just below the glutes, spending extra time on sore or tender areas to further alleviate lactic buildup.
The IT Band
The iliotobial band, or IT band, is a muscle on the side of the leg that is often very tender and responsive to myofascial release and rolling. The IT band wraps around the knee and thigh up to the hip and is important to flexibility and leg function. To roll the IT band, lie on your side and position the roller under one leg just above the knee, then roll up to the hip. Perform five to 10 repetitions on each leg.
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