We have spent a lot of time lately talking with endurance athletes. One common theme that comes up in each discussion is injury related to prolonged exercise. We ask them what they have done to prevent the injury or what they have done to treat the injury. Many of the people we have talked with only ran or cycled until their injury. Post injury many met with a physical therapist and mentioned that they were told to use a foam roller, stretch, and perform a variety of exercises to correct their imbalances. If you remember last weeks blog, we introduced the Corrective Exercise Training program that we use at MuvLab. Many of these overuse injuries could have been prevented if they had incorporated these methods for 10-15 minutes a day prior to and after their endurance training.
The first step in a Corrective Exercise Training program that we learned last week is foam rolling. We use foam rolling to increase circulation, remove knots, and help increase range of motion. Today we will introduce five areas of the body that we recommend that you foam roll prior to endurance training.
You should roll each muscle group for approximately two minutes. When you find a tender or tight spot in the muscle hold pressure on that spot for 30 seconds.
Tight calves lead to many lower body issues. Many endurance athletes lack ankle dorsiflexion due to tight calves and Achilles tendons. This tightness can lead to plantar fasciitis.
Tight hamstring muscles can lead to a multitude of problems in runners. Injuries caused by tight hamstrings include but are not limited to: low back pain, hip flexor and calf strains and even upper back/neck pain.
3. Illiotibial (IT) Band
The IT band attaches to the lateral aspect of the knee. Tightness is the IT band is a common cause of pain in endurance athletes. Two of the most common injuries associated with the IT Band are pattelofemoral pain and illiotibial band syndrome (runners knee).
Tightness in the quadriceps muscles often lead to knee issues in runners. Many runners have stronger muscles on the lateral side of the femur (rectus femoris and vastus laterallis muscles). This tightness can cause the knee cap to track off centered leading to pattelofemoral pain.
5. Glutes / Piriformis
Sitting all day at work causes the glute muscles to become weak. If we don't activate the glutes prior to running, we're setting them up for failure. Piriformis syndrome is caused by weakness in the glutes/ piriformis and repetitive use from running.
Coach Jared demonstrates how to foam roll these five areas in the video below. He shows a few different variations for each. Contact us if you have any questions about how to incorporate foam rolling into your pre and post exercise routine.