Use a foam roller for post-run recovery? That’s a smart move: this simple tool acts as a deep-tissue massager, working out kinks in overused muscles. But its benefits don’t end there – it can also build strength and stability. The roller has an unstable surface, so using it with a standard move, like a plank, adds a more challenging twist. ‘Balancing on a foam roller requires your body to recruit more muscles, especially in your core,’ says Tyler Travis, executive director of LECOM Medical Fitness and Wellness Center, US, who created this routine. Do these exercises two to three times a week (on easy-run days) to build total-body strength that’ll improve performance and guard your body against injury.
Works Your abs, glutes, back and shoulders
How? Place your palms shoulder-width apart on the foam roller. Keep your elbows slightly flexed, your back straight, and your neck neutral. Stabilise the foam roller in this position and hold for 30 seconds.
2. Press-up with leg lift
Works Your chest, triceps, abs and glutes
How? Start in the foam-roller plank position (1). Lower your chest towards the roller, keeping your elbows in. Now lift your right leg up, then lower it back down again. Repeat the press-up, lifting the left leg. Alternate legs for 3x8-12 reps.
3. Press-up with arm lift
Works Your biceps, triceps, chest, shoulders and abs
How? Lower into a press-up with your left palm on the ground and your right palm resting on the foam roller. Press up and lift the roller until it’s parallel to your chest. Lower back down again. Do 3x8-12 reps with each arm.
4. Wall squat
Works Your quads, glutes and abs
How? Stand straight with a foam roller sandwiched between your mid-back and a wall, and your feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly squat down towards the floor until the foam roller reaches your shoulder blades. Return to the start position, and do a total of 3x8-12 reps.
5. Bridge with leg lift
Works Your glutes, hamstrings, quads and abs
How? Lie down on your back with your heels resting on a foam roller. Raise your hips up towards the ceiling, then extend your right leg. Bring your right leg down and your hips back to ground. Do 3x8-12 reps on each leg.
See a video of foam rolling exercise moves here.