Injury Prevention Part 2: Foam Roller Stretches and Release Work

I have another set of injury preventing tips for runners. I should mention though, that these set of stretches are not only good for runners, but anyone who is tight throughout the legs or back or is just looking for greater flexibility.  This Part 2 of myofascial release work is performed on a foam roller. Part 1 focused on the Trigger Point method for reducing running injuries.

My Pilates instructor, Sabin, suggested I try the foam roller a few years ago. I was constantly tight throughout my legs from cycling and running, and as a result was injury prone and not very flexible. We used the foam roller in Sabin’s classes, and I really liked the deep release. Eventually, I bought my own when I was training for my second half marathon and now I use it a few days a week.

I follow this routine from the Sports Fitness Advisor , which is posted on his website. I know the cartoons in the illustration are kind of silly, but I think the visual really helps.

You’ll see below, that the 4th stretch, the IT band stretch, is my favorite. Sometimes our IT band can be really tight and we may not even know it. A tight IT band can pull on the knee and cause pain and tightness elsewhere in the leg.

If you want to take stretch #4 to the next level, stack the top leg on top of the bottom leg and roll.  Adding the weight of your top leg to the bottom leg lets you work deeper into the bottom leg. Don’t do it if it hurts too much, you can work up to it slowly.

Get a roller, or use one at your gym or studio to give these a try!

You should spend a couple of minutes on each release, keeping your abs pulled in. And don’t forget to do each side to make sure that you are evenly stretched. I guarantee that if you stretch, use a foam roller, and trigger point as needed, you will reduce your chances of getting injured and will recover faster between runs.

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    My name is Maria and I live in California. I love teaching high-energy Pilates classes, going on long runs, and making connections with all of you! Hope you find a few useful articles, fitness tips, and recipes while you're here.

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