By BJ Gaddour
Foam rolling is a great way to speed recovery. Kneading your muscles after a hard workout can help ease soreness by breaking up adhesions (tight knots of connective tissue) and enhancing bloodflow. But a foam roller is just one of many tools you can use before, after, or between workouts to boost your mobility and fast-track your recovery. Here are three other options you’ve probably never considered.
Use this to loosen up your calves and Achilles tendons, especially after a tough run or pickup hoops game. Place your lower legs on the bar (or even one leg at a time on the handle of a dumbbell or kettlebell) and move them from side to side to break up adhesions.
Secure a thick, looped resistance band to an anchor point–a squat cage is perfect. Then step inside the free end so it sits above your ankle. Facing away from the anchor, walk forward a few steps to put tension in the band. Now drive your knee past your toes several times. Repeat with your other leg. Physical therapists call this “band distraction.” The benefit is better ankle mobility.
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Your targets: glutes and chest. The payoff: improved hip mobility and upper-body range of motion. Sit on a softball (or a lacrosse ball if you can handle it) and dig into your glute muscles, which can become knotted and tight from prolonged sitting. Repeat with the ball sandwiched between your chest and a wall.