6 Foam Roller Exercises that you can take home with you.
The foam roller is one of our Pilates favorites. It is a versatile prop that can be used to strengthen, stretch the whole body, and increase stability and mobility through better body awareness. Foam Rollers are lightweight foam that can be found in many different sizes, firmness, and even shapes such as half or fully rounded. A softer roller is more forgiving and more stable allowing less free movement while a firmer roller will roll more adding greater challenge. If you are choosing a roller for massage and fascia release then a softer roller will be kinder to the muscles while the harder one will really get into the muscles. They are relatively affordable and don’t take up too much space.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the most common ways you’ll see a Foam Roller being used in a Pilates Mat class.
Balance work - stand on the roller with slightly soft knees. As you get more confident with this you can incorporate single-leg glute work. This is a great way to challenge stability, foot/knee/hip work, and core strength.
Abdominal work with lovely back extension - seated on the floor with the roller in your thoracic spine. You can play around with the position and add rotation or mini roll-ups. Use the roller to give you feedback and less support so that you can really draw up through the abdominals.
Exercise 3 and 4:
Hip work and abdominal stability - place the roller into the small of the spine. You can move the legs into Froggie, circles up/down, leg openings, extended frog/reverse, spinal articulation with rollover exercises, and great abdominal work where the neck stay relaxed on the floor while the abdominals stabilize.
Lateral flexion - placing the roller into the waistline. Use the side body to lift you up towards the sky to strengthen the obliques and side body.
Back extension - placing the roller into the hands while lying prone. This is a wonderful way to strengthen the upper back.
The main benefits of using a roller?
It adds challenge through the moving platform.
It offers instant feedback which means your body needs to stabilize quickly to ensure follow-through of the movement pattern.
It can be used as an assist for standing balance work or propping you up in seated work.