My second "Pilates on the Foam Roller" workshop took place on Saturday at Victoria Park Harriers to a slightly dubious audience! Amongst my regulars were a couple of serious amateur cyclists and half-ironman (or woman!) in training. I know I'm an advocate of all things Foam Roller but it really is a fantastic way of challenging both athletes and the less-sporty alike. No matter how "fit" you are, you are just as likely (and sometimes more, if your sport dictates you working in an asymmetric manner) to have imbalances in the body which can result in a dominant and a weaker side, which may lead to problems later on. The most common reasons are muscular imbalances within the trunk and/or hips and both the spine and pelvis can be affected. The challenge is to identify if you are stronger or weaker on one side and if so by how much.
When we remove the support of the mat and lie supine on the roller, the very unstable Foam Roller can make simple exercises like Knee Folds and Leg Slides suddenly oh so challenging! For instance, doing several repetitions on the right leg before changing to the left will highlight which is more difficult and which feels more fluid and flowing. Knowledge is power. By recognising how you hold your body and whether you hold more tension in one side to the other can add wonders to your Pilates work on the mat!
If this all sounds just too scientific for a Saturday morning, there's one more selling point - less is more on the Foam Roller. All you need is to lie back, get into the "zone" and the roller will almost do the workout for you! We also did a few minutes Myofascial release or "Self-Massage" - probably the less said on this the better! Still, I'm keen to share the benefits, so more on this soon!!