How it works: Foam rolling helps break up muscle tightness that can cause mobile restrictions in your body. It increases blood flow to soft tissue allowing muscles to fire at peak efficiency during exercise. When used correctly, foam rolling your muscles releases tension, knots and tightness, while improving flexibility, strength, and muscle release. It decreases injury and leads to faster muscle recovery so you won’t feel sore days after a weekend surf session.
How to Foam Roll:
- Foam rolling can be done before or after exercise.
- Foam rolling works great before stretching.
- Let your body weight push down on the roller and roll up and down the muscle.
- Focus on any trigger points (knots in the muscle).
- Roll on each area for 30-60 seconds (or longer if you need).
- Don’t roll over bones or joints.
- Don’t roll on recently injured areas.
Hamstrings: Flexibility in the lower body is essential for full mobility of the entire body.Tightness in the hamstrings or hip flexors can hinder your ability to maintain balance and center of gravity while digging in during your turns or sticking an air or floater. Loosening up the hamstrings can help reduce back pain after surfing, and help you feel better while on the wave by mobilizing your pelvis.
- Sit with your left leg on the roller, bend your right knee and put your hands on the floor behind you.
- Roll up and down from your knee to just under your left bum. Switch legs.
Calves: Stretching your calves is an excellent way to increase flexibility of the ankle joint and will provide the foundation needed for a strong yet mobile surf stance.
- Sit on the ground with your legs straight, left leg crossed over the right, with the roller under your right calf.
- Lift your bum off the ground so that your weight is supported by your hands and the roller.
- Roll the length of your calf from the back of your knee to the Achilles tendon.
Back: Rolling out your lats, triceps, and upper back helps tremendously with the mobility of overhead reaching, which is critical in paddling on your stomach while surfing.
- Sit on the floor with the foam roller behind you.
- Lace your fingers behind your head and lean your upper back onto the roller.
- Tighten your abs and glutes and slowly move up and down the roller.
Shoulders & Sides: Failure to stretch this region can lead to limited range of motion, decrease power when paddling, pain in the shoulders or back, and poor posture.
- Lie on your left side with the roller under your armpit.
- Brace your abs and glutes for stability, and slowly roll down from your underarm to the bottom of your rib cage. Switch sides.
Exercises from Women’s Health Magazine.