If you own a foam roller, you can use it in a number of different ways for physical fitness purposes. This relatively small, cheap and flexible piece of exercise equipment can do wonders for your body in terms of tension relief and improved flexibility. What many people don't know is that these handy tools are more than just sore muscle soothers - they can also help with strength-training and work those critically important muscles that you really want to tone.
Take a look at a few ways that you can use foam rollers for a stronger, leaner body:
1. The Shell Curl
Align your hand with your shoulders on the floor. Extend your arms all the way out, lift your chest and stretch out your legs onto a foam roller beneath your knees. Maintain a flat back and a tight midsection. Lift your hips and pull in your knees toward your midsection. Hold this position and return to the start to complete the rep. Perform ten times.
2. The Reverse Push-Through
Sit on the ground. Place the foam roller behind your body. Extend your feet far out in front of your body. Put your hands on the foam roller, straighten out your arms and allow your palms to face you. Work your core muscles, gradually lower your back down and allow the foam roller to move up along your arms. Pause in this position for five seconds. Roll back upward to resume the starting position to complete the rep. Perform five reps.
3. The Rolling Lunge
Begin in your normal standing position. Place your weight onto your left foot while lifting your right side. Place the upper portion of your right foot on a foam roller just behind you. Extend your leg out straight. Lift your arms above your head. Bend your left knee, extending your right leg far back and pressing it directly into the foam roller. Let it slide along your shin until your left thigh is nearly parallel to the ground. Hold this position for a few seconds and return to the start to complete the rep. Perform five reps, alternate sides and repeat.
4. The Butterfly Lift
Lie on the floor, facing the ceiling. Keep your arms at your sides and position the outer portion of your feet along a foam roller. Press your soles together, allowing your knees to move outward into the butterfly position. Press down onto the roller with your feet, flex your glutes and lift your hips upward. Hold this position and return to the starting point to complete the rep. Perform 10 reps.
5. The Scissors Balance
Begin by lying face up on top of a roller. Press your forearms against the ground while bending at the elbows. Maintain straight legs, balance your body on the roller and lift one leg into the air. Lift the other leg just a bit off the floor. Alternate positions for each leg to complete the rep. Perform 5 reps.