Foam rolling can be a great addition to your workout program and it is a vital component to preventing injuries. You should always use the foam roller before stretching as this allows you to release any myofascial adhesions, thus allowing you to stretch the muscle to its optimal length. Make sure you roll the full length of the muscle avoiding rolling over joints. You should also roll slowly as this will give you the most benefit. Too many people hastily roll up and down the length of the muscle. While this may give the muscle-fascial connection some release, it is not ideal. Foam rolling can sometimes cause shoulder discomfort, especially in those who have underlying shoulder injuries. If this is the case, you can try using yoga blocks or several folded towels underneath your hands as a way to reduce the stress on your shoulders.
Enjoy the following videos as I demonstrate the technique for rolling your calf and your IT band.
Nathan has been a certified athletic trainer since 2003. He is a licensed athletic trainer in the state of Wisconsin, a Corrective Exercise Specialist and he is co-owner at Mindful Motion Physical Therapy, LLC in Madison, Wisconsin.
These are the thoughts and opinions of the author and they do not constitute medical advice. For advice on medical issues you should always consult your local medical practitioner.