Foam rollers really are cool, as I stated in my first post about them. In my first post I talked about how great they are to help you stretch. In my last post I mentioned that the foam roller can be used to do exercises. I mentioned that exercises can be progressed by using different surfaces and that the different sides of the halved rollers can be used too. Most exercises with the foam roller have to do with balance. A standard exercise can be done with the a foam roller requiring greater stabilization in the core. A stable core assists with balance, so using a roller adds the challenge of having to balance while doing the exercise.
One standard exercise you can do with the addition of a foam roller is a squat. One foot would be placed on a halved roller. Starting off with the roller placed horizontal would be an easier exercise than with the roller placed vertical. The vertical position would be the one that would offer the greatest challange to your balance. As mentioned in the last post you can use either sided of the halved roller, standing on the rounded side or standing on the flat side. With the rounded side on the ground the surface the roller is on makes a difference. A mat or a carpeted surface would supply more friction and allow the roller a better grip. A smooth surface would add a greater challange.
A squat ending in a one-legged stance on the roller would be another exercise. The roller position for this exercise would be horizontal with the flat side on the ground. You would do the squat and come up to standing on one leg, the leg on the roller.
One of my favorite balance/stabilization exercises is to lie on the full rounded foam roller, just as if you were going to do the stretch I wrote about in my first post. Lie with the roller along your spine from head to tail. Lift your feet off the ground so that your lower legs are parrallel to the ground and your thighs are perpendicular, in Pilates the position is called table top. The goal is to lift your arms off the ground so none of your limbs are in contact with the ground. It might take a few trys. You can use your arms to try to gain your balance. Balance on the roller. Balance as long as you can.
A great exercise for the glutes and hamstrings is the bridge. A bridge can be done with your feet on the ground but adding the roller gives it that extra added intensity. A bridge is where you lie with your back on the ground and press your hips to the sky squeezing your glutes and the back of your legs. Using the full round roller put both your feet on it. The height of the roller makes the move more intense and having to keep the roller stable and not allow it to roll make the squeeze even MORE intense. Give it a try.
These exercises can be done by anyone wanting to gain, improve, or just play with their balance. These are just a few exercises you can do with a foam roller.
Do you have a foam roller? Did you try these exercises with it?