One of the most important things you can do before you go run is have an excellent warmup. It gets you ready to run. Gets your blood pumping. It becomes easier when you start that run instead of having to warm up into it.
One thing you haven't probably thought about is including a foam roller in your warm up. So today I'm going to show you part of my warm up where I use a foam roller and other massage tools to get me ready to go run.
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Now when you're thinking about a warm up. You may be thinking about just going to run or walking or even strength work, but you may not have thought about using a foam roller to warm up. And I can tell you that it is a great way to be almost like a pre warmup warm up because of how gentle and nice it is.
The thing that we're doing when we're using a foam roller or massage tools is that we are at first getting more blood flow into those areas, those muscles that we're going to use, which is important when you increase blood flow, then you increase oxygenation.
All the other kind of nutrients that go into blood, that go into the muscles and then you can use them more effectively.
So increasing blood flow is number one. But not just that; this was actually something I learned recently. I knew that it did work, but not necessarily how it worked. And this is why it's always nice to learn new things all the time.
And that is that you're effectively creating this response in your brain, telling your muscles to tighten and relax, which is what they're doing through exercise. Because we spend most of our lives sitting around, or at least I do. I don't know about you, but a lot of us do. We're in this kind of tight position all the time. Our brain is telling our muscles to be tight, but when we go work out, we have to have them tighten and relax over and over again.
So when we're using the foam roller, when we're doing strength work to start a warm up, that's what we know our brain is telling us tighten, relax and making it ready to go for that more intensive activity, which is running.
Using a foam roller is pretty straightforward. You want to lie on whatever part of your body you're trying to work on, whatever muscle group it is and roll back and forth. Now I like to use this guy. This is a product from Rollga, a big fan of the company. I'd like to buy them eventually. I've mentioned this before, so hopefully I can build my company up one day that I can buy them and then have their products because I'm not really sure how to do it better than what they already have.
If you don't have one of these, that's perfectly fine. I like it because of the divots, and you can roll your back out without compressing your spine in any case.
We're going to go through four different muscle groups that are important for running quads, hamstrings your calves and your shins. Now we're going to do these a couple of different ways, but I'll show you the basic technique. As I mentioned, there's really not a whole lot to it. Take your foam roller. Lay it out. You're going to lay on it this time. We're working on our quads here. So just lay on it a little back and forth.
It's going to be the same thing for your hamstrings. This is one thing where with the Rollga, you have to be a little more intentional because if you're just rolling here, it's a good way to start kind of warm up.
But because of the, you know, the curvature here the divot, you actually have to move your legs out to get the kind of full like normal rolling. So in some ways, it's actually kind of nice because you have different intensities through the same kind of stiffness of the foam. But you do have to navigate that.
Now Rollga talks about using this for your calves as well, which I can use. But again, a similar issue in that there's a divot here. I've also used a regular foam roller for my calves, but I'm not as big a fan. I do like to use is a stick. This is the original stick.
There's a ton of different kinds of massagers like this stick like material, but this is what I find to be the best thing to get in your calves. So here it's kind of hard to see my calves, so maybe I'll move around a little bit. You're just going to be rolling back and forth. So you were flat with the plane of the leg. I come again at an angle. This is maybe forty five degrees to my leg on this side and then forty five degrees on the other side. And like I told my bike workouts, so this is actually pretty nice.
The last thing you want to do is actually do the anterior part of your shin, which is this outside this big, meaty part of your shin. This is responsible for when your foot comes backwards. So plantar flexion, this is your calf. When you push down off the ground dorsal flexion, you're using this shin muscle to pull your foot up.
So it's all part of the planting motion, but you want to make sure that you get that as well.
Again, the whole thing here is that you're trying to increase blood flow and activate those signals in your brain. They're telling your muscles to tense up and relax things that were going to be using. When we are going to go out to run.
There are other things you can use like this lacrosse ball. I like to use that on my glutes. You can use that as well as your foam roller or the stick. This is going to be a much more kind of trigger point kind of massage. So I got these when I was having piriformis issues a couple of years back.
They're very, very good at getting deep into your glutes. So it's a great way to activate them and kind of get those muscles started, which is especially important when you run. As I mentioned, I've done another video on glutes specifically, and while they help, which I'll link to at the end of this video, but you can use everything by with a foam.
You can use a foam roller to get to everything.
If I can talk here, but you can also use multiple tools that are a little more, in my opinion, targeted to specific muscle groups.
I really think that getting your calves with the stick is going to be a better way than the foam roller. I think it's especially important to loosen up your calves so that your Achilles tendons are not tight. You do in general want tight tendons and loose muscles. But if they're too tight, that creates problems and you can create problems when everything is not relaxed or tightened in the right amount. So that's the whole point of using these tools as a warmup in before you get going with your strength work or your dynamic warmup. You can use your massage tools get blood flowing initially, especially on those days when you're feeling sore and you just don't kind of want to get going or you're a little more lethargic. It's a great addition to get you going.
So what have I missed? What do you do for your warm up? Leave it down to the comments below. I'd love to hear from you. I'll see you next time on the next episode of Runner's High.