Category Archives: Upper leg

Foam Roller: Adductor Relief

The adductor muscles are the muscles that run along your inner thigh. Tight adductor muscles are a common reason why people feel tight in the hips. Tight adductors can inhibit your glutes which can affect compound movements such as squats and lunges. Keeping the adductors loose is very important for hip mobility and to obtain the proper form of lower leg exercises.

To foam roll the adductors, you are going to have to get into an awkward beginning position. But it works.

Read the general instructions on how to foam rolling, here.

Foam Roller: Piriformis Relief

The piriformis muscle is a flat muscle located in the gluteal region near the top of the hip joint. This muscle is important in lower body movement because it stabilizes the hip joint and lifts and rotates the thigh away from the body. This enables us to walk, shift our weight from one foot to another, and maintain balance. It is also used in sports that involve lifting and rotating the thighs.

Tight or irritated piriformis can cause pain and spasms. There are a few different exercises that will help you relieve pain from piriformis, this particular truly works for me.

Also, foam rolling the gluteal area will relieve tension in your lower back ( an area we do not foam rolling). Please, read the general instructions on how to foam rolling, here.

Foam Roller: Quads Relief

The Quadriceps can be subdivided into four muscles or heads: Vastus Intermedius,  Vastus Lateralis, Vastus Medialis and Rectus Femoris. This group of muscles combined is the largest muscles of the leg. They are extremely crucial muscles aiding in important actions such as walking, running, jumping and squatting in addition to stabilizing the patella.

Tight quads? Don’t worry: foam rolling your quads is quick, easy, and truly effective. There are two main variations on foam rolling your quads: rolling both legs at the same time and rolling each leg individually. Neither is better, it’s really a matter of personal preference and what works best to release your fascia. If you’ve never used a foam roller before, or never foam rolled your quads, you might want to start with the two leg variation. It maintains an even pressure on both quads at the same time, distributing your weight onto to legs, and so it’s a little lighter. The single leg variation thereby exerts more pressure onto the fascia, so it’s better for those that have rolled their quads before, and know that their quads require harder pressure.

Please, read the general instructions on how to foam rolling, here.

Foam roller: Hamstrings Relief

Tight hamstrings are a common issue among all kind of athletes, no matter the sport. Even non-athletes suffer from tight hamstrings, especially professionals who sit for extended periods of time. Foam rolling the hamstrings is an effective solution for this problem.

Stretching may be more beneficial if foam rolling is done prior to the stretch. A study from 2014, Foam Rolling and Static Stretching on Passive Hip Flexion Range of Motion, measures the effects of foam rolling prior to static stretching. The authors found an increase in the hip range of motion after rolling on the hamstring then stretching, compared to stretching alone.

In my experience, tight hamstrings cause lower back pain. Countless times the pain is gone once I take care of my hamstrings. As foam rolling the lower back is something we should NOT do, loosen up your hamstrings is an indirect way to relieve pain and tightness in the lower back area.

Read the main instructions on how to foam rolling, here.

Leg extensions

For this exercise, you will need to use a leg extension machine.

First, choose your weight and sit on the machine with your legs under the pad (feet pointed forward) and the hands holding the side bars. Adjust the pad so that it falls on top of your lower leg (just above your feet).

Also, make sure that your legs form a 90-degree angle between the lower and upper leg. If the angle is less than 90-degrees, means the knee is over the toes which in turn creates undue stress at the knee joint. If the machine is designed that way, make sure that when you start executing the exercise you stop going down once you hit the 90-degree angle.

Exhale and use your quadriceps to extend your legs to the maximum. Ensure that the rest of the body remains stationary on the seat. Pause a second on the contracted position.

Inhale and slowly lower the weight back to the original position, ensuring that you do not go past the 90-degree angle limit. Repeat.

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Backward Lunge

Stand with your torso upright holding two dumbbells in your hands by your sides.

In preparation to step backward, slowly lift one foot off the floor and find your balance on the standing leg. Try not to move the standing foot and maintain balance. Hold this position briefly before stepping backward. The raised foot should land on the toes first. Slowly shift your body weight onto the lead foot, placing it firmly on the floor.

Inhale and lower your upper body down, while keeping the torso upright and maintaining balance. Do not allow your knee to go forward beyond your toes as you come down, as this will put more stress on the knee. Keep your front shin perpendicular to the ground.

Exhale, push up activating your thighs and butt muscles to return to your upright, starting position.. Repeat or change legs.

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Resistance band Squat and press

Stand on the band, hips width apart. Grab a handle in each hand and stand up straight. Contract your abs, bracing your torso. Pull your shoulder blades down and back. Your head and neck should be aligned with your spine. Do not allow the back to arch. Maintain these engagements throughout the exercise.

Inhale and start with a squat, flexing the knees and hips to lower your body. Descend as far as possible, maintaining good posture in the spine, hips, and knees.

After fully rising to a standing position, press the weights overhead by extending the elbows and flexing at the shoulder as you exhale. Repeat.

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