Tag Archives: stretching

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: Shin Relief

Running, jumping rope, box jumps, burpees… they can all lead to shin splints, a painful and incredibly annoying injury experienced by almost every single active person ever. Shin splints are often caused by inflammation of the sheath surrounding the tibia bone. Foam rolling can help release this inflammation (but don’t do this exercise if your shin splints are due to stress fractures).

Read the main 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.

Swiss ball lower back stretch

This is one of my favorite stretches to do on a Swiss ball. It feels good on your back but also gives your abs, chest, and shoulders a wonderful stretch.

Lie back over the Swiss ball with the ball centered under your thoracic spine.
Allow your back to gently arch over the ball. Reach arms overhead keeping your elbows straight.

Hold this position and enjoy.

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Lying Gluteal Muscles & Low Back Stretch

This is a real simple and effective stretch. May be used to reduce low back pain, Sciatic Nerve Pain & other symptoms related to improper biomechanics. It stretches Tensor Fascia Latae, Ilio-Tibial Band, Gluteus Medius, Gluteus Minimus and Gluteus Maximus.

Lie on your back and cross one leg over the other. Bring your foot up to your opposite knee and with your opposite arm pull your raised knee towards the ground.

Enjoy.

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Modified Hurdler Stretch

This exercise stretches our lower back and hamstrings. You may feel it stretches other parts of your body. That´s a clear sign you need to stretch more often.

Sit on the mat with your legs outstretched in front of you, toes pointed toward the ceiling and knees straight. Bend your left knee and place the sole of the left foot against the inside of your right thigh. Sit as tall and straight as possible keeping your head aligned with your spine. Place your hands on the top of your right thigh.

Engage your abs to stabilize your spine. Exhale and slowly bend forward from your hips, sliding your hands toward your ankle. The knee should remain straight with the toes pointed toward the ceiling. Hold this position as you take a few breaths.

Relax and return to your starting position. Repeat with the opposite leg.

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