Tag: Health and Fitness

How To Use A Foam Roller

Foam Rolling For Mobility

how to foam roll properly

Foam rolling has become very popular in recent years, but it has been around for decades. It can also be an effective tool for helping to mobilize your joints when done properly.

The most important thing you need to know about foam rolling is that it is not a fix all solution.

Foam rolling prepares your body to improve muscle flexibility by relaxing chronically tight muscles.

If a muscle is tight, or overactive, it will fight against any stretching you do for it. The foam roller can then be used to help relax the muscle tissue in order to prepare it for stretching techniques.

It is what you do after foam rolling that counts!


How To Use A Foam Roller Properly

Simply roll the foam roller up and down your muscles in a controlled manner to massage the muscle. This is a great way for beginners to start, as it is the least intense.

For a more effective self-myofascial release technique, attempt to crush your tissues lightly by rotating on them horizontally using controlled pressure. This will reach down to deeper tissues.

To properly break apart adhesions in your soft tissues, stop over points where you feel the most pain and relax the muscle into the object. Stay on it for at least 30 seconds at a time and breathe to let it relax. Then slowly continue rolling over the entire muscle.

If no tightness or pain is felt in a certain muscle, then either obtain a firmer tool or move on.


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Which Foam Roller Should I use?

Foam rolling is most effective with a smooth round object that can roll over your soft tissues, such as a stiff ball or cylinder.

Soft Choices for a Light Massage:

  • Basic Foam Roller
  • High-Density Foam Roller
  • Tennis Ball

Firm Choices for a Deep Massage:

  • 4-6″ PVC Pipe
  • Lacrosse Ball

Though softer objects should be used at first to decrease the intensity, the most effective way to roll out tissues is with an object harder than your soft tissues. If the object is not as firm as your tight soft tissues, then the object will break down and it limits the amount of tissue release you can obtain.

Your tight tissues can only be fully released with dense objects that can break apart the adhesions. This also will increase the intensity of the message so it should be utilized less frequently, similar to if you do high-intensity workloads when training it can break down tissues too much for them to recover before it occurs again.

When choosing your foam roller, make sure that you get one that does NOT have a bunch of spikes on it or pressure points. Though it may feel good, it is not nearly as useful as just getting a firmer object.

We want to smash over the muscle massaging everything, not just pinpoint it. That is what hand massages are for.

This massage breaks apart adhesions in the tissue layers, moves fluids through soft tissues and overall assists with recovery.

You can use this to aid in the mobility of tight tissues or just as a recovery technique.


How often can I use a foam roller?

You can roll out your tissues anytime, from before, during, or after training sessions or on non-training days. However, the same muscles should not be rolled out more than four times per week and often not multiple days in a row, to allow for recovery from the breakdown.


How long should foam rolling take?

At first, self-myofascial release may take a very long time due to multiple tight tissues. If it takes an hour, and you have time, let it take an hour.

Do not rush through this process!

Over time, as your tissues are released it will take less and less time.

If you have limited time, it is best to focus on the most important areas during the time you have. Set a timer if needed.


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Learn how to decrease pain, improve performance and prevent injury with mobility exercises specific to your workout!

Be ready for any workout in 15 minutes or less!

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Strength Training Exercise Guide

Strength Training Exercise Guide

Your strength training exercise guide to perfecting your weight lifting form and technique!

500 squat

“How To” Exercise Descriptions

The Mathias Method Strength System only uses the most effective strength and muscle building lifts. These are the most effective strength training exercises you can do to build strength and muscle as well as how to do them with proper form.

One of the simplest and most effective ways to quickly improve your strength is to perfect your exercise technique. If you can lift better, you can lift more! Simply improve your lifting technique and get stronger, instantly!

By learning how to do exercises properly you will also help to decrease pain and prevent injury.

Make sure to check out our:

Click on the lift or exercise you want to know how to do properly!


 

Main Power Lifts

Main Lift Variations


Accessory Exercises

Legs, Back and Biceps Exercises

Leg and Glute

Back

Biceps


Chest, Shoulder and Triceps Exercises

Chest

Shoulders

Triceps

Rotator Cuff Exercises for Shoulder Health


Ab & Core Exercises

Ab Training

Oblique and Core Training


Bodyweight Exercises

Arms and Chest

Back

Legs and Booty


Plyometric Jumping Exercises


How To Do Glute-Ham Raises

Glute-Ham Raise

Learn how to do glute-ham raises properly to build strong hamstrings and glutes for running faster, jumping higher and lifting more weight!

Purpose:

  • Build Leg (Hamstring) Strength
  • Build Hip Hinge Strength
  • Increase Hamstring Hypertrophy

Prime Movers:

  1. Hamstring Complex (Legs)
  2. Glutes (Hips)

The glute-ham raise is one of the most effective exercises for building brutally strong hamstrings that can support a HUGE squat and deadlift.

They are also an absolute must for athletes of all ages, regardless of size, that wants to be able to run faster, jump higher and overpower the competition. Athletes should be able to do at least 10 bodyweight reps on their own and then start to add weight by holding a weight plate to their chest in order to compete at a high level.

If you cannot perform these properly I recommend you start with negatives until you build the strength to do reps on your own.

You can start by kneeling on a pad and having a friend sit on your ankles and descend slowly under control before doing a push-up to press yourself back up.

When you get strong enough to do these without assistance, all of your main lifts will likely have shot up significantly by now and you can start holding a weight plate across your chest.

If you do not have a Gute-Ham Raise at your gym, or a friend to help out, you can just do some heavy leg curls instead, but it just won’t give you the same results.


How To Do The Glute-Ham Raise (Hamstring Focus)

  • Get positioned in a Horizontal Back Raise Machine so that your knees rest at the back base of the main pad and your heels are hooked in place.
  • Starting with a vertical torso, arms to your sides and hips extended. Flex your glutes hard to prevent excessive hip flexion and brace your core.
  • Begin the movement by slowly controlling your bodyweight down as you allow your knees to extend to a lockout.
  • At the bottom position, quickly flex your knees and press them down to curl your entire body back to the starting position, while attempting to keep your hips extended.
  • Be sure to control your body weight and do not bounce out of the bottom position.

How To Do The Glute-Ham Raise (Glute Focus)

  • Get positioned in a Horizontal Back Raise Machine so that your knees rest at the back base of the main pad and your heels are hooked in place.
  • Starting with a vertical torso, arms to your sides and hips extended. Flex your glutes hard to prevent excessive hip flexion and brace your core.
  • Begin the movement by slowly controlling your bodyweight down as you allow your knees to extend to a lockout.
  • Continue the motion downward by relaxing your glutes and flexing at the hip so that your body hangs down towards the ground.
  • From the bottom position, quickly flex your glutes and press down into the pad as you extend your hips to raise your torso the same as a back raise.
  • To continue the movement upward, flex your knees and press them down to curl your entire body back to the starting position while attempting to keep your hips extended.
  • This is a two-part movement that needs to have quick transitions to move most efficiently.

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More Accessory Exercises…

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How To Do Bulgarian Split Squats

Bulgarian Split Squat

Learn how to do Bulgarian Split Squats properly to build leg muscle and strength!

Purpose:

  • Build Hip-Knee-Ankle Stability
  • Increase Leg Hypertrophy
  • Teach Single Leg Squatting Mechanics
  • Increase Hip Flexor Mobility

Prime Movers:

  1. Quadriceps (Legs)
  2. Hamstring Complex (Legs)
  3. Glutes (Hips)

How To Do Bulgarian Split Squats

  • Start by standing erect and placing the ball of one foot on a raised surface (6-12 inches) behind you.
  • While maintaining a vertical torso, hips square and your glutes activated, dip your raised knee down until you feel a stretch in your anterior thigh, or reach 90 degrees of knee flexion in your front leg.
  • Hold this position for two seconds before flexing back to the start position.
  • To increase the stretch further, raise the surface higher or put your front foot out in front farther.
  • Do not let your front knee go over your toes at any point.

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More Bodyweight Exercises…

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How To Do Weighted Dips

Weighted Dips

Purpose:

  • Builds Triceps Strength and Muscle Mass
  • Improves Shoulder Mobility

Prime Movers:

  1. Triceps (Arms)
  2. Anterior Deltoids (Shoulders)
  3. Pectoralis Major (Chest)

How To Do Weighted Dips

  • Add weight to your body by wearing a weight vest, placing chains over your shoulders or using a dip belt.
  • Begin by standing on a raised surface about one foot behind where your hands will be placed on the bars, or so that your feet will not hit anything when dipping down.
  • Grasp the dip bars with neutral wrists and squeeze hard into the bars to maintain tightness. Before raising yourself to the starting position, create an external rotation torque on the bars (attempt to twist thumbs out) to pull your shoulder blades back into place and make your elbows point behind you.
  • Begin by raising your body so that your arms are locked while supporting your entire weight in a vertical position.
  • Brace your core and push your feet out in front of you throughout the entire movement and lean forward slightly creating a slight bow in your entire body.
  • While keeping your shoulders pulled back and elbows close to your sides, bend your arms until they reach 90 degrees of flexion or you feel a stretch in your shoulder girdle.
  • While keeping your body tight and feet pressed out in front, forcefully press yourself up to the starting position.
  • Always maintain tightness and keep your elbows in line with the bars.

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Learn how to move properly to build strength, decrease pain, prevent injury, and get fit, at home or in the gym!

Great for men, women, and children of all strength levels!

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More Bodyweight Exercises…

View All Exercise Descriptions


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