When beginning any exercise lying on the roller it is a great idea to go through this basic set up. This ensures that you know where your body is. You will also have a greater chance of performing your exercise successfully. Please follow this link if you are at all unsure how to approach laying on the roller. Similarly, if you suffer from back pain or have issues with your knees or hips the following link has some great tips Beginner Foam Roller Tips https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GySjkR0dEmI Basic set up on the foam roller as demonstrated-
- Lay on top of the roller on your back with your bottom at one end and your head at the other
- Your feet and knees should be hip width apart, with your ankles more or less vertically in line with your knees,
- Your lumbar spine should be in a neutral position. To find your neutral position, pelvic tilt to touch or gently squash your lower back onto roller. Then pelvic tilt to arch your lower back away from roller (keeping your tailbone in contact). Keep pelvic tilting until you find the midway position. This is your "neutral" back position. It should feel comfortable and you should be pain free.
- Place one hand on your tummy and the other hand just below your sternum. You should be breathing down into your diaphragm so that you should be aware of your belly gently rising and falling with your breath. Your ribs should not poke up.
- Gently tuck your chin a little to elongate your neck.
- Then place both arms in the air, in line with your shoulders, palms facing each other. Reach for the ceiling, then squeeze your shoulder blades gently around roller. Repeat this several times to find a neutral position where your shoulder blade muscles are slightly engaged. Allow your arms to then be relax on the floor beside you, palms facing down.
- Try to engage your deep abdominal (or tummy) muscles, at a low level, by gently drawing your belly button in, towards your spine, without moving from your neutral back position when you breathe out. Squeeze your tummy muscles at about 25% or less, of a full contraction without pelvic tilting or turning on your surface or superficial abdominal muscles. Relax as you breathe in.
- NB your ribs should not flare or poke out if you are breathing normally with length in your neck and thoracic spine.