Stretches using the foam roller and tennis ball will help ease out the leg and hip muscles and are particularly good for those training for events over the summer months.
A foam roller is a great way of getting to muscles and areas of the leg that are often difficult to stretch and release such as the Iliotibial Band (ITB) a very fibrous muscle that runs on the outside of your upper leg. Often if there is tension in the muscle particularly on one side this can have an effect on the knee joint and hip joint causing imbalance which in turn can lead to issues around the pelvis and back.
Using the foam roll on the legs is a bit like a massage therapist coming along and using their forearm along the muscle group so it’s great to have the ability to release your own leg muscles with the roll anytime, very handy, (excuse the pun) if you want to keep those legs and body in shape.
The stretches are good to do x3 each side slowly always working from the knee towards the hip (moving the blood back towards the heart not back down the veins) taking about 20 seconds a time. When repeating come off the roll and repeat from the knee up. The stretches are great to do after your activity/sport setting aside 10-15mins to do them x3 a week and you’ll see the difference and be treating your legs to a massage directly post activity.
Another good stretch with the roll is for the vastus lateralis muscle one of the quadriceps running between the iliotibial band and the main quadricep muscle the rectus femoris, again following the same directions as the iliotibial band when rolling (knee up to hip). The hamstrings also benefit from the roll too.
Use a tennis ball to release the gluteus maximus (the biggest superficial muscle in your bottom) and the Tensor Fasciae Latae (TFL) a tiny muscle on the side of your hip above the iliotibial band (ITB) that often gets tight or shortened and can lead to pelvic imbalances and pain in the hips as well as pain in the lower back and lateral area of the knees. I have found through my experience as a massage therapist if you release this small muscle placing the tennis ball there and “trigger pointing” holding on the spot (massage therapist’s thumb on thumb) it helps ease all the surrounding muscles of the hip, I look at it like the key that unlocks the hip.
Watch the video and get rolling and stretching!