Foam Roll and Stretch: Improving your Arsenal in the Off-Season

From Justin Levine of California Fitness Academy

A foam roll might be a triathlete’s best tool in training. Forget the super expensive bike and the perfect running shoes. If you are not moving with correct function, you will eventually get hurt and then the bike and shoes can not be put to use. Rolling out the muscles will improve tissue quality of the muscle. You will move better, have increased blood flow and will reduce injury. Think of it as a “poor man’s massage”. Poor muscle tissue leads to inadequate blood flow to the working muscles and flexibility issues and you will begin to compensate through other areas, thus leading to over use and injury. Rolling should be done daily to enhance your muscle tissue and increase flexibility. If you are experiencing knee pain, glute pain, low back pain or calf pain, rolling can tremendously assist in alleviating that pain. For triathletes specifically, you need to roll your calves, quadriceps, glutes, IT band and thoracic spine region.

Along with rolling you need to implement a proper stretching program into your routine. Rolling will assist in flattening out the muscle, while stretching will assist in proper lengthening of the muscle. They go together. Stretching is all about correct positioning. You need to have great posture and mechanics when you stretch. You should be in a state of “mild discomfort” when you stretch, NOT PAIN! Stretch your hamstrings, hip flexors, glutes, quadriceps, calves and adductors (groin) on a daily basis.

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Justin is the owner and head fitness specialist at California Fitness Academy in Visalia, Ca. During his eight years in the fitness industry, Justin has worked with clients from all walks of life. Justin received his BA degree in Human Performance and Sport from New Mexico Highlands University. He competes in triathlons where he is very competitive amongst his age group. He is an author and active forum member at trifuel.com and strengthcoach.com.

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