How to massage hamstrings – does foam rolling work?

hamstring massage

For rolling away muscle tightness in your quads, the foam roller is a tried and tested tool, but when it comes to the hamstrings, the foam roller is less effective. Let’s take look at why this is, and what we can do to improve the tissue quality of our hamstrings in place of foam rolling. Continue reading

Foam rolling interview: who should use a foam roller?

This week we were asked to give an interview to up and coming foam rolling advice blog, Foam Roller Match. The site contains lists of details about different foam rollers, covering some of the technical content that we brought up in our article on Choosing the Right Foam Roller. In the interview, we’ve given some details about what we do, the differences in foam roller density and who should be using foam rollers. The top tip being that everyone should be using them! The only reason not to use a foam roller is if you don’t want to improve, unless it involves rolling on wounded skin (as is sensible).
Another key detail revealed in the interview is how it’s best to rehabilitate after an injury, and the steps you should take with professional assessment before turning to foam rolling. For a few more tips on the effectiveness of foam rolling, read the full interview here.

Is foam rolling always necessary before doing squats?

is foam rolling always necessarySometimes people ask us whether it is always necessary for them to do foam rolling before performing lower body exercises such as squats. The question usually comes up because they are finding the rolling takes up quite a lot of their scarce time, which they feel should be set aside for exercise.

There is no doubt about it, lower body foam rolling can be very time consuming. In our self-treatment videos, part 3a and part 3b, we go through six basic foam rolls we recommend for people suffering from knee pain. Even if you were only going to spend a minute on each roll, that would take up 12 minutes (one roll for each side of the body) – more like 15 minutes if we include time to transition between each roll. Those with particularly stubborn knots in their muscles might not find this is enough time and it would take even longer. Explained like this, it’s easy to see how this sort of work can eat into a training session. Continue reading

The counterintuitive truth behind treating trigger points with strength training

trigger points strength trainingIf you’ve been following our guides to healing patella maltracking, particularly our foam rolling articles, you should already be aware of trigger points. These are the knots that are created when your muscles are overworked. They tighten your muscles and can cause referred pain, and can be treated with foam rolling or other forms of massage – including the more intense use of PVC piping, broomsticks, or localised lacrosse balls. These methods are excellent ways of removing knots from the muscles, but if you rely on them too much you are left dealing with the symptoms of the problem and not the cause. Continue reading

Techniques to improve your ankle flexibility for effective squats

ankle flexibility for squatsAn important part of maintaining effective balance during the squat, and ensuring that your knees track outwards, is working on your overall ankle flexibility. Your shin needs to be able to move forwards slightly (roughly the length of a foot), and sideways (that is, outwards), in order to push the knees out far enough to give you space to squat down into. This ankle movement creates what we call a “diagonal shin” – as the shin moves out diagonally from the heel. How much your shin travels outwards will depend on how wide your stance is, as the closer the stance, the wider the knees need to move relative to the feet – but however far you need to travel, the main problem to tackle will be tightness in the calf muscles. Continue reading

Training routines for foam rolling, stretches and the core

training regime stretches coreDone properly, the foam rolling, stretching and core exercises available on this site will help alleviate knee pain and ultimately help you improve your movement (alongside the main exercises) to overcome patella maltracking. It is not possible to simply do them once or twice, for a set amount of reps or minutes, and expect results, though. Following the mentality of our exercise program theory, you have to pay attention to the effects each exercise has on you individually. So what do you need to look for in these peripheral exercises, to ensure success? Continue reading

How to use a foam roller to correct patella maltracking: the outer quads

foam rollers for outer quad patella maltracking exercise

There is already a vast wealth of information about foam rolling on the internet, so our current series of guides are designed to focus specifically on using foam rolling to help correct patella maltracking. To start, we’ll look at a foam rolling exercise designed to loosen the outer quad (vastus lateralis). This is the area where tightness in the muscle is most likely to cause an imbalance in the patella motion, as noted in our explanation of patella maltracking. When you want to relieve knee pain, it’s vital to relieve the knots in your muscles, and this is an effective way to start: Continue reading