FANTASTIC FOAM ROLLERS
Following on from your Physiotherapy newsletter on Myofascial pain showing some techniques using the foam roller, our Pilates newsletter will look at some other Pilates based exercises with the roller; they really are fantastic foam rollers.
Firstly let’s get you up to speed with our latest news.
The new Pilates timetable for January is OUT NOW.
FOAM ROLLER WORK
Standing balance work
Standing on ½ foam roller
- Initially, start the exercise stood near a wall using your hand for support until you are confident with your balance
- Have the flat side of the roller facing up, and step on
- Practice pressing down through your toes, then through your heels to feel the weight transfer and the roller rock. Coming to a stop in a flat roller or neutral position
- Engaging your centre will help with balance and you can test this further by bringing in marching arm movements
Roll out with full roller
- Stood with one foot on the full roller, find and maintain a neutral pelvis, engaging your centre
- Begin by straightening the knee to roll the roller away, then folding the knee to bring the roller back in and repeat
- Progressing then, by bending the standing leg to further challenge your balance and work the gluts and thighs more
Progression of mat-work exercises
Hip Twist Level 1
- Lay along the roller, ensure your head is supported onto the roller. Neutral spine position and centre engaged. Knees folded, flat feet with feet hip distance apart
- Keeping your pelvis and roller still, allow one knee to come out to the side as far as you can control, maintaining a neutral spine
- Return to the start position and repeat side to side
Scissors Level 1
- Lay along the roller, ensure your head is supported onto the roller. Neutral spine position and centre engaged. Knees folded, feet flat with feet hip distance apart
- Maintaining a neutral spine position as you breathe out, float one hip and knee up to 90° to the single table-top position. Pause with the in-breath
- Then, as you breathe out, return the foot to the mat
- Continue alternating legs side to side
Scissors Level 2
- Follow the first 2 steps of Level 1
- Then, softening the ribs (imagining springs between the ribs and the pelvis tightening), float the second knee up to hip and knee at 90° into double table-top position
- Then dipping one foot to the mat at a time, keeping the knee at 90°, then straight back to double table-top
- Alternate with legs side to side, ensuring a neutral spine maintained throughout
Mobilisation of the spine
- Lay along the full roller or along the curved side of the ½ roller. Start from a neutral spine position
- Breathing out, tucking your tail bone under and peeling your spine away, feeling the curve of the roller mobilising the spine up and into the shoulder bridge position. Pause for breath
- Then, with the next breath out, replace the spine one segment at a time back down to the roller, using the contract of the curve of the roller to guide and mobilise your spine
- Lay along the full roller or curved side of the ½ roller. Spine in neutral, arms reaching along your side. Gently tuck your chin in, imagining space for a peach under the chin
- Breathe out dropping your ribcage and reaching towards your toes to peel your head and shoulders away from the roller feeling mobilisation through the upper back with the curve of the roller
- Breathing in, lengthen and lower back to the start position
- Lay across the full roller or curved side of the ½ roller. Position the roller around your shoulder blade area, in the area of the spine where your ribs attach (thoracic spine). You can choose and alter exact location dependent on which level you feel needs mobilising.
- Use your finger tips to support your head. Breathing out, allow yourself to gently extend over the roller, opening the chest and feeling pressure through the spinal segment with the foam roller. You may stay there for one or two breaths if comfortable to do so, returning to the start position on the out breath
Below are 6 festive Pilates exercises that are quick and simple to fit in, to help keep us healthy and calm this Christmas.
HIPTWIST LEVEL 2
- Start position – Lie on your back with your knees bent up, knees and feet together, shoulders drawn down and in, and your neck long. Centre engaged.
- Place your arms out to the sides just below shoulder height, palms facing upwards.
- Inhale to prepare – Exhale, roll both knees to the right, continue to roll your pelvis, waist and then lower back towards the right. Finally, roll your head and neck towards your opposite shoulder, keeping your neck long and your feet stacked.
- Inhale and hold
- Exhale, roll your head and neck back to the midline. Finally, roll your lower back, waist, pelvis and then legs back towards the midline.
- Repeat alternating sides.
SHOULDER BRIDGE LEVEL 1
- Start position – Lie on your back with your knees bent up, legs hip width apart, shoulders drawn down and in, and your neck long. Centre engaged.
- Place a ball between your knees
- Inhale to prepare – Exhale, gently roll your lower back into the mat, scoop your tailbone upwards and continue to peel your spine off the mat, bone by bone until you are resting on your shoulder blades.
- Inhale and hold the shoulder bridge position.
- Exhale, lower the shoulder bridge by lowering one bone at a time to the mat, beginning with the highest vertebrae of your bridge and finishing with your tailbone to return to neutral position.
SCISSORS LEVEL 1
- On your back, neutral spine. As you breathe out float one hip and knee up to 90 degrees as if resting onto a table top.
- Hold for in breath then lower with the out breath the foot back down to the floor. Maintaining a neutral spine position throughout movement.
- Repeat alternating legs. Repeat 8-10 repetitions
DOUBLE LEG STRETCH LEVEL 2
- Start in the rest position centre engaged
- EXHALE, lower both arms overhead while simultaneously sliding one heel forwards along the floor
- INHALE, circle both arms outwards and then downwards. Simultaneously, bring your foot back to the start position.
Repeat alternating legs – Reps: 10
CLAM LEVEL 1
- Lie on your side with your shoulders and hips stacked. Underneath arm outstretched in alignment with the trunk. Ensure your back is in neutral and your centre is engaged. Hips bent to approx. 60°
- Inhale to prepare – Exhale, lift the top knee upwards keeping the feet together
- Inhale, lower the top knee onto the bottom leg.
- Lie on your side with your shoulders and hips stacked. Head supported on a small cushion. Ensure your back is in neutral and your centre is engaged. Hips bent to approx. 45° and knees bent to 90°. Arms reaching in front of the body and resting one on top of the other.
- Inhale to prepare – Exhale, reach the uppermost arm towards the ceiling. Continue to reach the uppermost arm out to the side allowing the upper body to rotate and the front of the chest to open to the ceiling. Allow the head to follow the movement of the arm.
- Inhale and hold the stretch
- Exhale, rotate the body and arm back into the starting position.