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[Workout Plans] Limber Up For Battle With Our 5 Minute Foam Rolling Repertoire

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*The 5 Minute Foam Rolling Repertoire is part 2 in our series on foam rolling. Before jumping in, read through part 1, which provides a FULL-blown primer on all-things foam rolling.

It’s LIMBER TIME, you stiff, sore, achy animal. Wring yourself out and boost your mobility with our down-and-dirty 5 Minute Foam Rolling Repertoire.

We’ve plowed through the basics behind foam rolling, but to quickly rehash: foam rolling is a form of self-myofasical release. It digs into the fascia (a layer of connective tissue that wraps muscles, bones, and nerves) and effectively breaks up triggers points — nodes of tightly wound muscle fibers, more commonly known as knots.

By releasing trigger points and stimulating blood flow, foam rolling has a MASSIVE regenerative effect on the body across the spectrum of sports performance. Perks include:

  • increased flexibility, mobility, and RoM — all 3 lead to enhanced performance.
  • turbocharged recovery and reduced muscle soreness
  • improved posture and alignment.
  • decreased pain from excruciating conditions like sciatica, runner’s knee, lower back pain, shin splints, etc.

Foam rolling is incredibly effective as a warm-up pre-workout, cool down after a ludicrous workout gauntlet, active recovery on off-days, or as a do-anytime form of self-therapy. It only takes 5 MINUTES per day, and you’ll likely fall in love with it to the point where you’re dying to put in double time. It’s therapeutic and meditative, plus it bakes in passive core work.

One warning to any foam rolling novices, just because I should. Foam rolling certain body parts, especially your adductors and groin (the inside of your legs), looks very funny and a little bit dirty; kind of like you’re delicately humping a large foam log. If you’re in a gym, you may get funny looks and funny faces. PERSIST! It’s for the sake of limbering up like a spry Gumby.

On to the foam rolling routine.




 

Limber Up For Battle With Our 5 Minute Foam Rolling Repertoire


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This is a foundational, 5-move foam rolling routine that’s designed for everyday use. At the VERY LEAST, complete the routine as a quick 5 minute warm-up along with light cardio and stretching. This is NOT just for leg day — use it on all training days, regardless of which body parts you’re blasting.

Additionally, bust it out as a cool down post-workout and at least 1x/day on off days. Do it in front of the TV. Do it right after you wake up. Do it before bed. It’s beyond easy — all you need is a foam roller to start it up (look harder, all gyms have them).

Like lifting or cardio, foam rolling should be integrated into your training as a regular, everyday routine. Drill it into your skull.

We’ll lay out specialized moves for specific conditions — including sciatica, lower back pain, and runner’s knee — in part 3. For more details on foam rolling technique, including dos-and-donts, refer back to part 1.

*Click on each foam rolling exercise name for a video demo.

 

1. Foam Roll Exercise 1 — IT Band


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Protocol: 2 sets, 15 rolls per leg

The IT band (aka iliotibial band) runs along the side of the thighs, from hip to knee. Turn over onto your right side, stick the foam roller in the center of your leg, and use your hands to slowly glide up and down the length of your upper leg. Keep the leg you’re rolling straight and relaxed.

Roll over the side of your hip flexors at the top, and stop just short of your knee at the bottom. If you hit a hot spot, hold it for 5 seconds. Do 15 rolls and repeat for the left side.

 

2. Foam Roll Exercise 2 — Adductors/Inner Thighs


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Protocol: 2 sets, 12 rolls per leg

Flip over onto your stomach propped up on your forearms. Bend your left leg forward and position the roller so that it’s parallel with your torso, planted firmly across the middle of your adductor (your inner thigh). It should look like you’re straddling it. Nope, it’s not awkward.

Gently roll up and down, moving between your groin and knee (but not onto your knee). Be VERY delicate — the adductors are extremely sensitive and can be painful, especially if you’re new to rolling. Try to keep a straight face. Do 12 reps and repeat for the right side.

 

3. Foam Roll Exercise 3 — Glutes/Butt/Piriformis


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Protocol: 2 sets, 12 rolls per side

Prop yourself up with your arms, tighten your core, and plant your butt firmly on top of a foam roller. Cross your left foot over your right knee, and tilt over onto the side of your left butt cheek.

Slowly roll from your hip bone down to the bottom of your butt cheek. Do 12 rolls and repeat for the right side.

 

4. Foam Roll Exercise 4 — Quads


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Lie on your stomach with the roller underneath your quads. Tip over slightly so that all of your weight is firmly on your left quad — your right leg should be in the air, or leaning against your left left.

Using your forearms, slowly roll down the front of your quad from knee to hips (but don’t roll onto your knee). If your hip capsule/hip flexors are tight (at the very top of your quads), hold the spot for 5s before releasing down. Do 12 reps and repeat for the right leg.

 

5. Foam Roll Exercise 5 — Lower, Middle, Upper Back


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Protocol: 2 sets, 12 rolls

Lie on your back with the foam roller under your shoulder blades. Place your arms behind your head, or cross your arms over your chest for more stimulation.

While keeping your core tight and back flat, roll up and down your back; moving from your shoulder blades down towards your waist. End just below the top of your butt. Complete 12 rolls.




Bryan DiSanto

Bryan DiSanto

Founder & Editor-in-Chief at Lean It UP
ELLO ELLO I'm Bryan DiSanto. I'm the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Lean It UP, a CPT/CSN/Fitness Coach, Chef trained at Le Cordon Bleu – Paris, NYU graduate, ex-fat kid, and all-around fitness junkie.

I also contribute to Men's Health Magazine.

When I'm not working on my abs (or somebody else’s), whipping up avocado roses and avocado toast, or running a Tough Mudder, I'm probably yelling at a Carolina Panthers game somewhere.

Come be friends with me on Instagram (@BRYDISANTO) & Snapchat (BRYDISANTO).
Bryan DiSanto