Foam Roll to Improve Lower-Body Mobility Over the Holidays

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Foam Roll

Taking a few days off from training this holiday weekend isn't necessarily a bad thing. If you've been hitting the weights hard the last month or two, this is actually a good time for a short break. Spending a few days away from the gym allows your muscles to recover and helps avoid training plateaus, so you can continue to make performance gains with your workouts.

Just because you're not in the gym, however, doesn't mean you can't work on improving your athleticism. Whether you're traveling to visit family, staying in a hotel room or just hanging out at home, you can work on your lower-body mobility and flexibility with a simple foam roller. Using a foam roller on your muscles prevents them from tightening after a long flight, drive or meal. And if you're rehabbing, foam rolling speeds the recovery process.

Maryland soccer strength coach Barry Kagan has his female athletes regularly perform rolling exercises to improve their mobility and reduce muscle tightness. The Lady Terps use PVC pipe as a roller, but you can opt for a traditional foam roller like the Grid, from Trigger Point Performance Therapy.  PVC piping is too intense for beginners.

Kagan recommends performing foam roller exercises for two 60-second sets. To  achieve maximum benefit, use slow, controlled motions and focus on sensitive areas.

Quads

  • Lie face down
  • Place foam roller under quads, balance on elbows and maintain tight core
  • Roll slowly from knee to hip, concentrating on sensitive areas

IT Band (outside of thigh)

  • Place foam roller under left hip and assume Side Plank position
  • Balance on left elbow and right foot; use leg to adjust intensity
  • Roll slowly from hip to knee, concentrating on sensitive areas
  • Perform on opposite leg

Groin

  • Lie face down with right knee and hip bent 90 degrees
  • Place foam roller under right inner thigh, balance on elbows and maintain tight core
  • Roll slowly from groin to knee, concentrating on sensitive areas
  • Perform on opposite leg

Calves

  • Sit on ground with legs extended and back straight
  • Place foam roller under calves and balance with hands on ground
  • Roll slowly from heel to knee, concentrating on sensitive areas

Glutes/Piriformis

  • Sit with side of left glute on foam roller and opposite leg crossed over thigh
  • Balance on hands
  • Slowly roll back and forth over glute, concentrating on sensitive areas
  • Perform on opposite side

Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: QUADS | MOBILITY | FOAM ROLLER | RECOVER