If achy muscles are reminding you of yesterday’s run, it might be time to invest in a foam roller. According to Greatist, a self-massage with a foam roller could help ease sore muscles, correct muscle imbalances, increase your range of motion, and prevent injury. Keep in mind that not all foam rollers are created equal, so be sure to look for one that fits your needs: longer rollers offer more stability and support, while shorter rollers are easier to transport; soft rollers yield a gentler massage than hard ones; and rollers with ridged surfaces are ideal if you have deep knots to work out. Once you’ve picked your roller, plan to spend about 60 seconds on each body area—longer if you’ve got an especially tough spot. Your whole rolling routine should last around 10 to 15 minutes. Ready to rock and roll? Here’s how to target each area:
- Hip flexors. Get into a modified push-up position, propping yourself up on your elbows and toes with your forearms on the floor. Place the roller under your hip flexors. Roll up and down from your hips to mid-thighs.
- IT band. Lie on your right side and prop yourself up on your right elbow with your roller under your right thigh. Using your left hand and both feet to keep you stable (your left foot should function as a kick-stand), roll between your hip and knee. Then switch sides.
- Hamstrings. Sit on the roller with your feet on the floor and legs bent. Recline with your hands on the floor behind you, keeping your arms straight. Roll from your glutes to your knees.
- Glutes. Slightly alter the hamstrings position by crossing your right ankle over your left knee. Roll back and forth hitting all parts of your glutes. Then switch sides.
- Calves. With the roller positioned under one or both calves, sit up with your arms straight and hands on the floor behind you. Lift your glutes off the floor and roll your calves up and down the roller. Switch sides if you’re rolling one calf at a time.
- Upper back. With your feet on the floor and knees bent, lay with the roller under your upper back. Roll up and down your upper- to mid-back. Keep your arms crossed over your chest if that’s comfortable.
- Lats. Lie on your right side, keeping your right leg straight and your left knee bent with your foot on the floor. Prop yourself up on your right elbow and position the roller under your lats. Roll up and down, forward and back. Then switch sides.
- Chest. Lie on your right side and keep both legs straight. Position the roller under your right pec, with your right elbow bent and forearm flat on the floor. Use your left hand for stability while you roll up and down across your pec. Then switch sides.
Of course, it's always a good idea to check in with a health or fitness professional to make sure you have proper form and are minimizing the risk of injury.