Chances are you already know all about the benefits of foam rolling for your daily runs. But if you just use ato rehab injured muscles, you’re not getting the most out of it.
Foam rollers—which come in a variety of densities and sizes—can also be a valuable part of a healthy runner’s warmup and cooldown routine
Foam rolling improves circulation, which gets the body ready for a workout and helps it recover afterward. And because rolling breaks down knots that limit range of motion, it preps your muscles for stretching.
To get started, here’s a quick guide on how to use a foam roller to warm up before your run and cool down after. Pro tip: Roll slowly and when you find a tender spot, focus in on it by rolling back and forth until you feel it soften or release.
Rolling increases blood flow and releases muscle tightness that can interfere with proper running form.
Start sitting on the floor with legs extended out in front of you. Place the roller under left calf. Rest right foot on the floor or cross right ankle over left for extra pressure. Use your hands to press hips off floor, then roll from the ankle to below the knee. Rotate left leg in, then out. Repeat on right calf.
Lie on left side with the foam roller near left hip. Cross right leg over left and rest right foot on the floor with the knee bent. Using your forearm, roll along your outer thigh from outer hip to just above the knee. Increase the pressure by stacking your legs. Repeat on right side.