Stretching, the Foam Roller, and Performing SMR... (Trust me, it's hardly as kinky as it sounds!)

Roller Thumb

Alright Bikini Body Mommies... We are now officially 3/4 of the way through the first week of my BIKINI BODY MOMMY 90 DAY CHALLENGE, and the aftermath is clear!

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Wouldn't it be nice to end this active week with an intense deep-tissue massage?

For many women, the desire to go to the spa to get a "deep tissue massage" is easy to understand. In this highly-fantasized scenario... you'd be able to end this week with an escape from your family for a few hours, to head to a spa! Upon arriving, you'd be given a plush white robe and walked into a quiet, dark, candle lit room. A few moments later you would find yourself comfortably lying face-down on a massage table. Under a warm layer of white sheets, your hired massage therapist would then spend the next 60-90 minutes massaging your achy-body with coconut-vanilla scented massage oil, while systematically working out all of the knots in your muscles!  Deep-breath, Ahhhhhhhhh....... *Ok, daydream over!*

For those of us who can't spring for a trip to the spa, here's what WE CAN DO — Use a Foam Roller!

Even if you've personally never been treated to the experience of having a professional massage, it is still commonly known that the "deep-tissue massage" process, while relaxing, can also be uncomfortable and even painful at times. Self-myofascial release (SMR) using the foam roller allows YOU the ability to deep massage your own muscles!

You may have seen people in the gym foam rolling and think it's just for serious athletes, but that's not the case. There are many reasons why massaging out the tight knots in your muscles should be an important part of your BIKINI BODY MOMMY workout routine, even if you are already stretching regularly.

Why? Because no matter how much you "stretch," the build up of fascia (scar tissue) will create knots in your muscles that won't go away! This can lead to a slew of different problems, and is WHY every BIKINI BODY MOMMY, regardless of your size, shape, current fitness level -- or athletic ability, should be using one of these long spongy cylinders daily!

WHEN IT DOUBT, ROLL IT OUT...

Self-myofascial release (SMR) is a fancy term for "self-massage" to help release "trigger points" of muscle tightness. By applying pressure to specific points on your body you will be able to aid in the recovery of your muscles.

Why Would I Do Something That Hurts?

  • It helps prevent common injuries. One of the most important reasons for a regular foam-rolling routine is to prevent those often and wayyyy too common exercise-related injuries. Many runners, for example, become painfully well acquainted with their IT band if they don't take care to massage the band of tissue. IT band syndrome and other similar flare-ups can be caused by too-tight muscles. Foam rolling every day ensures you are massaging away fascia buildup in your muscles, in order to help prevent those areas from becoming injury trigger points.

  • It keeps you flexible. Building up your flexibility is key for any fitness routine, which means you constantly should be stretching and doing exercises that'll help you gain flexibility.

  • It helps you de-stress. Had a hard day? Foam roll your worries away :) Digging for those knots releases tension that is built up in the connective tissue of your muscles, to keep your body less tense!

Are You Ready to Rock n' "Roll" Bikini Body Mommy? Ok, well first you'll need a foam roller!

Bikini Body Mommy Foam Roller

Pick the Right Roller! Foam rollers come in varying degrees of density. The dingy white ones you often see lying in the corner at the gym are the least dense and therefore get worn out very quickly. If your gym has black or blue ones, use them instead—they tend to be much better quality! If you are looking to "roll" within the comfort and privacy of your own home, consider buying a "TRIGGER POINT FOAM ROLLER" it's by far the best in the industry... and I LOVE MINE! They even sell it with a DVD which shows you a gazillion other ways it can be used besides the 8 Bikini Body Mommy stretches I've listed below. 

How to Foam Roll... The more regularly you foam roll your tight muscles, the less painful it'll be -- I PROMISE. Here are eight important stretches you should be doing with a foam roller for sexy, elongated, flexible, pain-free Bikini Body Mommy muscles!

1. Lat-Stretch

  • Start lying on your right side with the foam roller under your armpit and the right arm extended in flat on the floor. Place your left arm down in front for greater stability and balance, and begin rolling out the lats, up and down, and forward and back. After 60 seconds, move onto the other side and repeat.

Foam rolling Lat stretch

2. Upper Back Massage

Start by positioning the foam roller beneath your shoulder blades. Support your head with your hands and keep your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Use your feet to control your motion and pressure and start rolling toward your head, pausing at any sore spots. Roll back down to the mid-back and repeat.

Foam Roll Upper Back Exercise

3. Hip Flexor Stretch

Start by sitting on the foam roller with your seat bones on the foam roller.  You bring the right foot on top of the left knee.  Then you shift your weight onto your right cheek.  Then you roll the foam roller from below your sit bone to above your sit bone... it's a very, very small area that will feel like a "pocket" but you'll know when you're in there -- ouch!

foam rolling piriformis stretch

4. Quad Stretch

Start face down on the roller, with one leg on the roller at the hip and the other leg free. Since your quads are such a large area of muscle, roll straight down the center of your leg. Next, roll down both the outside and inside 45-degree angle of the quad for both legs. Start at the hip and slowly roll towards the knee with each leg and angle, stopping for 20 counts on all adhesions/knots.

Foam Roller Quad Stretch

5. Inner-Thigh Stretch

This one can be a tough area to hit, but if your adductors (inner thighs) are tight, you will definitely be able to help them open up. Get into a plank position on your elbows and toes, lay the foam roller at a 45-degree angle to your body. Open your right knee out (externally rotating your leg at your hip), and lay your right inner thigh on the foam roller just above the knee. Then slowly roll the foam roller from your knee up your inner thigh, as high as you can comfortably go, keeping as much weight on the roller as possible. Swap and repeat on opposite leg!

foam roller inner thigh stretch

6. Hamstring Stretch

Start by sitting on the roller, with one leg on the roller and the other leg free. Roll straight down the center of your leg. Next, roll down both the outside and inside 45-degree angle of the quad for both legs. Start at the bottom of your butt cheek (glute) and slowly roll towards the knee with each leg, stopping for 20 counts on all adhesions/knots.

foam roller hamstring stretch

7. IT Band Stretch

Using the foam roller on your IT Band can be on of thee most painful spots, but without a bikini Body Mommy doubt -- it is one of the most beneficial stretches you will do with the foam roller! Lie on the roller on your side, with the roller positioned just below the hip. Your top leg can be in line with the bottom leg if you want a lot of pressure. Or, bend it in front of you to unload some of your body weight and provide better balance. Use your hands for support and roll from the hip down to your knee, pausing on any tight or sore spots. Repeat on the your other side.

foam roller it band stretch

8. Calf Stretch Massage

Place a foam roller under one leg, positioned under the middle of your calf. Take the opposite leg and lay it beside the leg on the foam roller, or to increase pressure, cross the opposite leg over the top of the leg on the foam roller. Slowly roll up and down the calf muscle searching for a tender spot to “destroy” and then apply pressure to it.

foam roller calf stretch

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