July 22, 2024

Is the Foam Roller for you? By Nicole Bryan

For an investment of just under $25.00 a Foam Roller offers provides many purposes and benefits to the everyday exerciser. Massaging muscles, offering a balance component to workouts, as well as providing an abdominal challenge and stretching are just a few of the uses. You’ll find varying lengths, however a 6 inches in diameter and 3 foot length foam roller is the most versatile for many. Proper body mechanics are important when using the foam roller. This means pay attention to your body position as you’re working on the roller. As always, consult your physician before adding in this or any new component to your exercise regime.

Rolling on the foam roller should not be painful. It’s important to keep the roller moving much like a massage. Roll up and down your muscle only. For example, place the foam roller perpendicular to your body just under your calf or lower leg muscle. Position the roller to be under only one leg at a time. Sit on the floor, stay seated on the floor or for more pressure on your calf muscle, lift your body up on to the roller. Roll up and down your calf muscle about six inches of total movement. Keep the duration of your rolling limited to less than a minute at first.

The foam roller can offer a balance challenge to your workouts. Because of the round shape, your body must work to stabilize the roller. For example, lie on the roller face up lengthwise with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Now move your feet and knees together and place your arms across your chest. Hold for 10 seconds before returning your hands to the floor to help balance.

Adding an abdominal challenge to your workout using the foam roller provides unaccustomed work for your muscles. For example, begin on the floor on your hands and knees. Place the roller under your knees. Pull your belly button up toward your spine, pull your shoulders down. Hold your torso and the roller in place. Now lift your right hand up off the floor and hold for five seconds. Return your right hand to the floor, and lift your left hand up off the floor and hold for five seconds.

Stretching on the foam roller allows gravity to assist your stretch without allowing any compensatory patterns. For example, lie on your back lengthwise on the roller. Keep both knees bent with your feet flat on the floor. Now reach both arms straight out along side your body and roller with your palms up.

Check out this super versatile and multi purposeful piece of exercise equipment next time you are at the gym. Consult a Fitness Professional to outline specifics for you and your workout program. Roll, improve balance, challenge your core and stretch for posture all on one foam roller!

Have a Ball by Nicole Bryan

Tired of the same old routine at the gym? Make your fitness fun! Get on the stability ball and mix up your workout. Exercising on the ball improves balance, posture, body awareness and coordination. Performing exercises on an unstable surface (the ball) recruits more muscles in the core to keep the torso steady (stabilization).

Make sure the ball is the appropriate size for you. When sitting on the ball your thighs should be parallel or slightly below the hips. The following exercises are for intermediate exercisers and for those without muscle/joint concerns. Perform exercises at your own risk. Always consult your physician before performing exercises. Pull your belly button in towards your spine during each exercise.

Standing Wall Squat- (strengthens the lower body). Place the ball against the wall positioned in your lower back area. Walk your feet slightly forward, keeping them about hip width apart. Perform a squat by bending your knees and allowing your hips to shift backward.  Bend your knees until you feel tension in the front of your thighs, then return to a standing position. Do not let your knees travel in front of your toes.  Repeat 12-15 times.

Seated Row with Tubing- (strengthens your upper back). Sit on the ball. Pull your belly button in towards your spine and sit up tall. Extend your legs out in front of you, so only your heels are touching the floor. Wrap the tube around your feet and hold on to the handles.  Pull your elbows into your body. Extend your arms to return to your starting position.  Repeat 12-15 times.

Incline Ab Curl- (strengthens the core).  Sit on the ball, walk your body toward the floor until the ball is under your low back.  Curl your trunk pulling your ribs down toward your hips.  The ball should not move.   Repeat 12-15 times.

Enlist the help of a Fitness Professional to build a workout routine on the stability ball for you.

Ask A Pro by Tera Busker

Question: What is a “Bosu Ball?” What’s the benefit of a Bosu Ball and how can I utilize it in my gym workout?  -Chad in Boise, ID.

Answer: The BOSU ball, which stands for” Both Sides Up”, is an extremely effective fitness tool that can be utilized for a wide range of training purposes. It’s essential to seek guidance from a Fitness Professional to learn how to use this fitness tool safely. When used correctly, the BOSU ball can be used to increase flexibility, enhance balance, boost speed and take your strength to the next level. Because you can use both sides of the BOSU (rounded side facing up or rounded side facing the floor), your exercise and fitness options are endless.

When incorporating the BOSU into your routine, take things slowly and perform all exercises with purpose and good form. Because the BOSU really challenges your balance, your muscles, especially the core, will be working overtime. Start off with incorporating the BOSU into standard exercises like squats, pushups and planks. Stand on the rounded side of the BOSU when you do squats and place the BOSU flat side up and hold onto the sides while doing pushups and planks. If you are a beginner to incorporating stability challenges into your workout or you have balance issues, try standing on the BOSU (always round side up) while performing exercises like shoulder presses, bicep curls and side raises. As always, obtain medical clearance before beginning an exercise program.

Tera Busker is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and owner of Fitness To Go, an exclusive In Home & Private Studio Personal Training Service based out of Roberts, WI. www.fitnesstogo.net