You see people rolling on them in the stretching area. The first time you saw one, you thought it was a piece of leftover construction material. And while it looks cool, you have no idea what to do with it. Yep, that pretty much describes the first impression of a foam roller.
Well beauties, while you should totally foam roll (read: self massage) before and/or after your workouts, once you are done improving circulation and releasing tension you should also get a solid sweat session in. My four favorite exercises with a foam roller are right this way – so let’s roll!
Exercise #1: Unstable Crunches
I’m not usually a fan of crunches, so when I do do them, I only want to do a few, which is why I love adding a little instability to the wildly popular exercise. By lying on the foam roller, your core muscles have to work extra hard (or else you’ll roll off) and your low back can get in on the fun too. By pressing your low back into the foam roller it teaches both the muscles in the front and the back of your core to work together. Teamwork makes the dream work, and in your case beauties, this muscle teamwork helps your core work.
Exercise #2: Stabilized March
Put on your favorite workout song (here’s some free music if you need it) and get ready to march to the beat beauties. By lying on the foam roller and raising your legs (one at a time or both at the same time- which P.S. is harder) your core gets in on the action (not just your legs). Again, the foam roller is unstable so marching while lying on your back is a great crunch-less way to work your abs.
Exercise #3: Inner Thigh Lift w/Rotation
Two muscles for the sweat of one. Flip over on your side and balance on the foam roller for some serious inner thigh action. These small muscles are stabilizers, so when you isolate them they tone up quick. And since I like to maximize my time I threw in a little rotation at the end in order to work my obliques (side abs) too. Don’t let this minimal movement combo fool you – it’s a burner boo.
Exercise #4: Isometric Squat
Wonder what would happen if you were sitting in a chair, someone moved it, yet you still have to hold yourself up? Well your legs would light up and you would tone up. Isometric squats are my fave because it engages all the muscles in your legs in one fell swoop – so when I can add the foam roller (read include my abs) the workout is priceless. Try it next time your at the gym, and if you want to add some upper body fun, raise your arms up and down a few times while you sit and wait for your legs to shake.
Robbie Ann Darby (RAD Experience) is a professional FitGirl, Group Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer in NYC. Follow her sweaty life on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for more fun health and fitness tips!