I like using the foam roller with my clients.
I even did a 2-hour presentation on it called Your Foam Roller Exercise Guide
Okay, back to what I was going to talk about.
I think the foam roller is the most neglected piece of equipment in most gyms.
One of my favourite stretches with the foam roller is the 90-90 stretch.
I have talked about the 90-90 stretch before. It is a great exercise to target the hip flexors, specifically rectus femoris.
You can do this stretch without the foam roller, but using the foam roller makes it easier for you and your client to do the exercise, especially in a fitness centre which has very uncomfortable floors to kneel on.
CLICK HERE to watch the video on YouTube
Let me explain the exercise in a little more detail.
Place the flat side of the foam roller on the ground. Have your client kneel on the foam roller with a focus on having their ankle in maximum plantar flexion. Do not let your client have their foot off the edge of the foam roller, make sure it is on the foam roller.
The kneeling knee starts off at 90 degrees of flexion, but you make sure it is in line with the hip of the same side.
The opposite leg is at greater than 90 degrees of flexion with the foot on the ground. The foot is inline with that side hip. (This is very important!)
Now you contract your abdominals in order to prevent any lumbar extension, which is a compensation strategy and takes away from the stretch.
Then you move the hips forward, bringing the kneeling leg into hip extension and the front leg into 90 degrees of knee flexion.
Your client is looking for a light stretch in rectus femoris of the kneeling leg.
They hold this position for 30 seconds and perform the stretch twice on each side.
Try the exercise out with your next client that has tight hip flexors.
Now before I go. The negative part about using the half foam roller for this stretch is it is difficult to fully flatten (plantar flexion) the foot. Some people will be too tall and their foot will hang off the foam roller. Plus if your client is wearing shoes, this limits plantar flexion even more. Just keep that in mind.
This is a great stretch, give it a go.
Rick Kaselj, MS
P.S. – If you are looking for a program to help you loosen up your hip flexors, make sure to check out Fixing Tight Hip Flexors:
Rick Kaselj, MS