Are You Loving The Foam Roller?
A couple weeks ago we had a post with 4 Good Cycling Stretches. These are our picks for keeping those cycling legs of yours all loose and performing the way they should. Following the post, our Loving the Bike pal, @StevieDexter asked if we could suggest some post ride self massage tactics for the legs. I told him about the foam roller and he was immediately sold and set out to get one. Then he asked, “how do I use it?” Well, Stevie….get ready for some oh so good pain.
It’s pretty hard to find a cyclist (or any athlete) who doesn’t have a tight Iliotibial Band (IT Band). The iliotibial band is a strong, thick band of fibrous tissue that runs along the outside of the leg. It starts at the hip and runs along the outer thigh and attaches on the outside edge of the shin bone (tibia) just below the knee joint. The reason why cyclists often experience IT Band tightness is because it works with the quadriceps to provide stability to the outside of the knee joint during movement…..and you know how much moving the knee joint is doing during a ride, right?
But the IT Band is a tough little sucker to stretch out properly, and for that reason I didn’t include it in the cycling stretch post. But there is a great way to massage/stretch the IT Band, and the way to do it is with a foam roller. I love using my foam roller and it’s an incredible way to loosen up the IT and the rest of the legs…but be warned, a great deal of pain is often included in the process (but that good sort of pain).
I’ve done up a video to show how to use the foam roller for the IT Band massage as well as some other uses you may find handy.
Roll up and down the IT Band gently. When you find a tight (usually painful) area, stop rolling and “hang out” there for 30-45 seconds, or until pain decreases by about 75%.
Have you ever experienced IT Band tightness? Have you ever used a foam roller (@T_Starry knows about the good loving pain it can cause, don’t you Tim)? Let us hear about your foam roller experiences.