5 Core Exercises on your Foam Roll

Use your foam roll for more than rolling out your muscles… These 5 exercises are a great way to engage your CORE & get a whole body workout in! {VIDEO}

5 Core Exercises on Foam Roll

Happy Thursday!

One of the goals I set for 2016 was to post more FITNESS related content for you all! I have been feeling like this blog has gotten away from what my original intentions for it were and has become just a place for me to blabber about my life, which is fine but not ideal. I am going to make it a point to start feeding you all useful and practical fitness posts.

So today I am giving you 5 exercises to do with your foam roll… that ARENT rolling out your muscles!

I love using a foam roller & it is one of the most recommended fitness products that I recommend my patients to purchase, as they are generally not very expensive and a great tool! However your foam roller can be used for WAYYY more than just rolling out those sore muscles and it is a fantastic tool to amp up your body weight workout. PLUS that makes your $20 massage tool become a WORKOUT tool as well, and I am all about getting a bang for your buck! Also most gyms and fitness centers have foam rollers available for general use so if you have a gym membership but not a foam roller at home this works for you too.

This group of exercises focuses on your CORE as the predominant muscle group doing the work. Because of the cylindrical surface of the foam roll you get to really key into your deep core muscles (your Transverse Abdomens, ask my patients its my favorite muscle) and challenge them with a dynamic surface!

1. Plank Holds

The first exercise is a PLANK! Y’all this is a great way to spruce up your boring plank and get some extra activation in. Putting your hands on the foam roller will almost automatically kick in your Transverse Abs and make you stabilize extra hard. This is a DOUBLE whammy exercise because you are stabilizing through your shoulder girdle. Make sure you set your shoulders by externally rotating (try to bend the foam roll and try to rotate your shoulder blade back) which is an excellent way to strengthen those small shoulder girdle muscles important for stabilizing the shoulder during overhead and pressing exercises.

5 Core Exercises On Foam Roll

Recommendations – Perform 4 sets of 30 second holds
Make It Easier – drop to your knees and preform a modified plank on your knees
Make It Harder – perform it single legged, alternate between feet (10 alternations per set) or perform a set on each leg (30second holds)

2. Plank Walks

A foam roll walk is a great way to kick those shoulder stabilizers into high gear and again strengthen them for overhead and pressing tasks. For this exercise you’re going to get into a high plank and then squeezing your core and gluts tight walk one hand out and back then repeating on the second side.

5 Core Exercises On Foam Roll

Adding a theraband kicks these up a notch!

Adding a theraband kicks these up a notch!

Recommendations – Perform 4 sets of 10 walks PER arm
Make It Easier – drop to your knees and preform in a modified plank on your knees
Make It Harder – add a theraband around your wrists to add resistance

{{Freebie}} Another way to amp up your plank is to perform a forearm plank roll out. Starting in a modified plank position (on your knees) and with your elbows on the foam roll, slowly start to flex your shoulders (bringing arm towards your ears) which will lower your abdomen towards the ground. At the point of maximal flexion start to pull your arms back so your elbows are under your shoulders by activating your lats and really focusing on keeping your core tight! It’s easy to let your back sag during this one, so FIGHT it!

these roll outs are LEGIT!!!

these roll outs are LEGIT!!!

3. Dead Bugs

Dead bugs are probably my patients least favorite exercise, they are tricky and look super goofy but are really effective in targeting my FAVORITE muscle and making you work to engage your transverse abs. When doing these on the foam roll you really have to dig deep and kick into your inner balance ninja!

5 Core Exercises On Foam Roll

Using as little upper body support as possible, I used 1 finger of each hand, activate your core and elevate one leg to a 90-90deg position (90deg hip flexion & 90deg knee flexion) maintaining this position bring your other leg up to match before slowly lowering your legs back down one at a time in a controlled manner. Basically you are marching your legs, pausing in table top each time.

Recommendations – Perform 4 sets of 20 marches (up+up+down+down = 1)
Make It Easier – use more upper body support
Make It Harder – try to use 1 or NO upper body support, this is super hard and takes practice. If you can get NO upper body support try to maintain your feet in an elevated table top position without falling over!

4. Bridge Holds

Bridges are another of my favorite exercise, they are great for posterior chain strengthening and engaging your core (obvious trend!). Just like the plank hold, by putting your feet on the foam roll you are required to use more muscle activation and really keep everything tight!

5 Core Exercises On Foam Roll

Make it harder by doing Single Leg Bridges

Make it harder by doing Single Leg Bridges

Recommendations – Perform 2 sets of 10 reps with a 10second hold at the top
Make It Easier – Do not elevate your hips as high, or support your hips with your elbows on the ground. If the foam roll continues to make it too challenging perform on the ground.
Make It Harder – perform it single legged, perform a 10second hold on each leg before switching to the next leg. Make it even harder by alternating without lowering your hips!

5. Hamstring Curls

These are a doozy!!! Starting in a bridge position with the balls of your feet supporting you, roll out into an extended leg posture while maintaining your elevated hip position, then in a controlled manner fire your hamstrings and pull your legs back toward your butt.

Start Position

Start Position

End Position

End Position

KEY TIP :: make sure you are towards to toe of your shoes so when you roll out the foam roll is rolling down your shoe towards your heel. ALSO make sure your core is rock hard and you are not arching your back when rolling out or back, this can lead to back pain and thats no bueno!

Recommendations – Perform 4 sets of 10 curls
Make It Easier – drop your hips and perform without the bridge position
Make It Harder – you can try single legged if these are too easy, however they are pretty tricky as is!

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Alright so there you have it! 5 killer foam roller exercises that don’t involve rolling out your muscles. These moves can easily be coupled together into one workout that will not only blast your core but recruit your whole body, or you can add one or two to your workout to spruce it up! I personally love adding the planks & plank walks to supplement a shoulder workout, and then adding the bridges & hamstring curls with a leg day. They are excellent supplemental exercises!

Hope you enjoy & let me know if you have any requests for future workouts/exercises!

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