Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

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Posts Tagged ‘improve flexibility’

Different Rollers, Different Things

Posted by terrepruitt on August 9, 2012

It has been over three years since I posted about foam rollers.  I know I post a lot about Nia because I teach it, but I am surprised I have not followed up with some additional posts about foam rollers.  I think they might have become more common since my last post.  I have seen them in gyms now, whereas I had not seen them there before.  They have moved into mainstream exercise and are not just for the more therapeutic type of movements forms.  It is nice to see them being used more frequently because they are a great piece of exercise equipment.  They are affordable and portable.  A great combination for exercise equipment.  Typically they are 4 inches or 6 inches in diameter and they are 12 to 32 inches long.  They are used in their whole form – round – or cut in half length wise.  The different lengths are used for different things . . . obviously.  So goes for the whole round or the half round.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, NiaSince the foam roller is a great tool to use for people ranging from “new-to-exercise” to serious athletes it is nice to have a variety of them.  The halved rollers can be used in the beginning of an exercise program to allow the body to be accustomed to standing on a rounded surface.  The flat sides would be placed on the ground while you stand on the rounded sides.  This could be used as a first step in a conditioning progression.   Flipping the rollers over and using them on carpet could be used as the next step.  The halved rollers flat side up on carpet.  The carpet would help keep the rounded side of the rollers from being really slippery. Then the progression could be the halved rollers on a hard smooth surface.  The smooth surface of the floor would provide the additional challenge.  Next graduating to the long halved roller.  You could start on carpet then once mastered move the roller to a smooth surface.   Eventually moving on to the whole roller.

That is just an example of how the foam rollers can be used for more than just stretching.  Standing on foam rollers in the aforementioned progression would be a way to improve core strength and balance.  And that was just a quick and easy example.  There are many things that can be added to the information above to either make it easier or more difficult and/or to lengthen the progression.

So foam rollers are not just for stretching and improving flexibility and mobility they can be used for improving strength, coordination, and balance.  They are a great thing to add to an exercise program.  There are a lot of different exercise you can do with them.  I am not going to wait another three years to share some of them with you.  I am going to be posting some in my next few posts.  So stay tuned.

Have you seen foam rollers in your gym?  Have you seen people do exercises with them?  Do you exercise with a foam roller?

Posted in Exercise and Working Out | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Stretching BEFORE Workout

Posted by terrepruitt on June 10, 2010

When I was young the thing to do, what we were taught to do, before exercise was to stretch.  Static stretching, moving into a position that stretches the muscle, then hold it for about 30 seconds.  The idea was to stretch every muscle in the body, from the top to the bottom or the bottom to the top.  This was considered a proper warm-up.  This was the correct way to get our bodies ready for exercise.  This we were told would prevent injury. Research and knowledge has changed that.

With advances in exercise technology and body knowledge, it is now a popular belief that this type of stretching, static stretching could actual harm the muscles or in the very least keep them from operating at their peak.  Some researchers believe that stretching before exercise actually causes the muscle to contract and tire, therefore not perform as efficiently.

A study done by the University of Nevada found that athlete’s muscle strength was decreased by as much as 30%.  If a muscles strength is decreased you are either going to be able to do less or injure yourself trying to do more than you muscle is able to do at the time.

So many of us have been taught to warm up this way for so long it is difficult for us to let go and to move on to the correct way to warm up.  This type of stretching — static stretch — is best left for the purpose of improving flexibility (and strength in the case of asanas) and is best done after a workout (unless it IS your workout as in the case of a yoga).  What type of warm up do you do?  Do you stretch before or after a workout?

Posted in Exercise and Working Out | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »