Do you foam roll? If you do, then you probably have a love-hate relationship with it because it hurts so good! Form rolling is a form of myofascial release that helps ease tense muscles so they can work more easily with the fascia (connective tissue) that surrounds them. So much of the pain, tweaks, tinges and stiffness we experience is due to super tight muscles and inflammation.
If you’re not already foam rolling, I recommend you start and if you are, roll as part of your warm up and cool down for your workouts, too.
Since foam rolling is for relieving muscle tension, make sure you only roll on your muscles – not tendons or joints.
Have you been rolling out your IT bands – the thick tendons on the side of your legs – and not getting relief for your knee and hip pain? Most IT band issues that center around the knee or hip are caused by compression. The IT band isn’t a muscle so you can’t help it relax like you can your quads and hamstrings. Foam rolling directly on your IT bands can actually aggravate and further inflame the nerve that runs through it, making the compression (pain and tension) worse.
In this week’s YouTube video, I demo 3 foam rolling exercises for your lower body to help indirectly ease the tension of your IT bands.
1. Quads – You can roll them one at a time, but I demo both together because it’s a little easier to roll the entire length with both legs on the roller. Try the bent knee variation – you’ll “love” it.
2. Glutes – Place your right hip on the foam roller and cross your right ankle over your left knee. Slowly roll over your glutes and focus on those tender spots with circular and side-to-side movements.
3. Hamstrings – You can roll them both together but it’s easier to do one side at a time. For the single leg, start the roller closer to your knee and roll back toward your hip, using your other foot to push and allowing your upper body to relax.
If you love rolling your IT bands and don’t experience worsening pain, go for it! However, if you’re looking for more relief, try rolling around the area instead of directly on it.
Always do what feels best in your body.