Everyone has their muscle problem spots that just seem to need a little more attention than others, particularly between massage or Myofascial Release sessions. Below are a few of my favorites that I use on a daily basis to keep myself released and my body happy.
- IT band, Quad, and Hamstring releases: I like to use either a foam roller or a stick roller (like a rolling pin). FYI – the foam roller is going to provided a deeper, but more painful release than the stick roller.
To use the stick: sit comfortably in a chair or standing and, with firm pressure, roll the stick up and down the length of the quads, hamstrings or IT bands from just above the knee to just below the hip bones.
To use the roller: set the roller up perpendicular to you on a mat. To release the quads, use an army crawl (on your elbows) to roll from just below the pelvis to just above the knees. To release the IT bands, lie on your side on the roller and use your arms and top leg to guide yourself from just below your hip bone to just above your knee bone along the side of your leg. To release the hamstrings, sit on the roller w/ your hands behind you and roll from your sits bones to just above your knees.
- Hip flexor release: I like to use either a foam roller end or balls (about 4” in diameter). Lay on the floor face down with either the end of a foam roller positioned about 2” from your belly button or with a ball (or one ball on each side) the same distance from the belly button. Try and relax into this position with deep breathing and let your body melt over the balls
- Piriformis release: Use the same ball from the hip flexor release and sit one cheek on the ball at a time. Roll around a little until you find the most tender spot in your tush and breathe until you feel that muscle start to release.
- Between the shoulder blades: I like to use either the foam roller or the balls.
To use the roller: lie on your back on the roller (with the roller perpendicular to you) w/ your hands behind your head and your hips in a low bridge. Using your legs, roll from the base of your rib cage to just below your neck. Again breathing into any knots you might have in those muscles of your back. If you find a particularly stuck spot, hang out there by gently dropping your tush down to the floor and, while supporting your head, let your upper body melt towards the floor.
To use the balls: Find the tight spots along the side of your spine and inside the edges of the shoulder blades. Lie on your back on the balls with your neck supported and breathe into the knots that you find. Change spots, as necessary.
Alix Terpos PT, DPT