A massage tool can build muscles.
Use a foam roller for postrun recovery? Smart move: This simple tool acts as a deep-tissue massager, working out kinks in overused muscles. But its benefits don’t end there–it can also build strength and stability.
Because the foam roller has a curved, unstable surface, adding it to an exercise, like a plank, suddenly gives a standard move a challenging twist. “Balancing on a foam roller requires your body to recruit more muscles, especially in your core, to perform the move,” says Tyler G. Travis, executive director of Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine Medical Fitness and Wellness Center, who created this routine.
Try to do these exercises two to three times a week (on easy-run days so you’re not too wiped out) to build total-body strength that’ll help improve performance and guard against injury.
Works abdominals, glutes, back, shoulders.
- Place your palms shoulder width apart on the foam roller. Keep your elbows slightly flexed, your back straight, and your neck neutral.
- Stabilise the foam roller in this position, and hold for 30 seconds.
- Repeat three times.
2. PUSH-UP WITH LEG LIFT
Works chest, triceps, abdominals, glutes.
- Start in foam-roller plank.
- Lower your chest toward the roller, keeping your elbows in.
- Lift your right leg up, then lower it.
- Repeat the push-up, then lift the left leg.
- Alternate for three sets of eight to 12 reps.
3. PUSH-UP WITH ARM LIFT
Works biceps, triceps, chest, shoulders, abdominals.
- Lower into a push-up with your left palm on the ground and your right palm on a foam roller.
- Push up and lift the roller until it’s parallel to your chest.
- Do three sets of eight to 12 reps with each arm.
4. WALL SQUAT
Works quadriceps, glutes, abdominals.
- Stand with a foam roller between your midback and a wall and your feet shoulder width apart.
- Slowly squat down toward the floor until the foam roller reaches your shoulder blades.
- Stand and repeat eight to 12 times for three sets.
5. BRIDGE WITH LEG LIFT
Works glutes, hamstrings, quads, abdominals.
- Lie on your back, heels on a foam roller.
- Raise your hips up toward the ceiling, then extend your right leg.
- Bring your right leg down and hips back to ground.
- Do three sets of eight to 12 on each leg.