The 5 Foam Roller Moves that Saved My Back – And My NFL Career

THE 5 FOAM ROLLER MOVES THAT SAVE MY NFL CAREER – 3 YOU’VE NEVER DONE

TAMPA, FL- AUGUST 20: Tight end Nate Lawrie #85 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers runs the ball against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Raymond James Stadium on August 20, 2005 in Tampa, Florida. The Buccaneers lost 17-20. (photo by Matt May/Tampa Bay Buccaneers) /Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

After recovering from back surgery following my 3rd season in the NFL, I became dedicated to foam rolling as a way to extend my career.

Most people think of the foam roller as a simple self-massage device, but in truth it is so much more – a true foam roller (with an adequate diameter) allows you to do core-stabilizing ab work, can help you make simple spinal adjustments, and it provides an amazing platform to relax and deeply stretch muscles in ways not easy to match on other devices.  And, if used consistently enough, a foam roller can have a major impact on your physical well-being.   But this is the key, the best foam roller is the one that you can use on a consistent basis so you can see better results.

With this guided motivation, I created The Morph – a foam roller that is portable and easy to carry, so mobility seekers can take care of their bodies no matter where life’s adventures take them.

Managing a finicky lower back as an NFL player became possible because of these 5 moves that I did almost daily.  I played 5 more years of pro-football and lived out a boyhood dream.   My only wish is that I had The Morph while I was still playing.  It would have saved me a lot of headache from lugging around my roller.

If you are currently suffering from low-back pain, or just want a routine for improved spinal health, give these moves a try….

5-foam-rolling-moves-for-nfl-player

These 5 moves are absolute magic for low-back health and recovery.  They are designed to loosen and increase blood flow to the muscles that tie into the low back and hips, as well as align joints and vertebrae.  The best part is that 3 of them are rarely performed movements that can have a major impact for someone who suffers from low back pain or sits for long hours.  If you’re active, these are great moves to prevent injury and keep you in peak physical condition.

The body is a chain, so it is vital for any self-maintenance practice to focus on the bigger picture.  When you have a specific area you want to focus on, it’s vital that you attend to adjacent muscle groups in order to see great results.  When it comes to the low back, you have muscles and connecting tissue that want to pull your spine and hips in a hundred different directions.  If the area is not properly maintained, something is going to pull harder than it should and cause pain.


THESE 5 FOAM ROLLER MOVES SAVED MY NFL CAREER:

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1) PIRIFORMIS STRETCH WITH IT BAND KICKER

This move will help to loosen up the Piriformis Muscle which connects your sacrum to your hip bone.

Put The Morph directly beneath your hip and thigh with your ankle crossing over.     

Stretch:  Stretch into your hip, allowing yourself to relax as you loosen up:  30 sec/side

Roll:   Slowly roll back and forth in this position to help release the muscles and break down adhesions in the IT Band – 30 sec/side


 2) HIP FLEXOR STRETCH

Rarely done, but simple and downright effective.  People forget that back health is a two-sided affair and neglect the front side of their bodies – namely their hip flexors.  If your hip flexors are tight, it’s going to pull your hips and lumbar spine out of alignment causing pain.  If you sit for long periods of time, you can’t avoid it— your hip flexors are going to be tight.  The best way to stretch this muscle group is on a standard-diameter foam roller.

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Position The Morph beneath your tailbone.

Stretch: Relax the down leg while grabbing one knee.

Hold: 30 sec/side

 


3)  SIDE OPENER STRETCH

Few people know about this magical stretch, but it is the easiest way to loosen and release myofascial adhesions in the low back, and is a super easy way to get a great oblique stretch.

Side Opener - Anya

Hips and Shoulders are vertically aligned.  Put The Morph directly beneath the side of your hip bone.

Stretch: Relax into a deep stretch as low back tightness eases – 30 sec/side

 


4)  PIRIFORMIS / GLUTE MASSAGE AND RELEASE

Piriformis Roll - Anya

This move is awesome at getting into the deep muscle tissue of the Glutes. With a deep massage into this area you can relieve tightness in the fascia and flush toxic build up from the muscles.

Cross right leg over and rest your ankle on your left knee.  The Morph nubs should roll deeply into the right Gluteus muscles. 

Roll:  Slowly roll forward and back to massage the muscle.  Change position slightly by rocking a bit to the left and right.  Find tight areas and pause – 30 sec/side


5)  BACK ADJUSTMENT AND MASSAGE

One of the best ways to start your day.  A quick roll along the entire spine helps to adjust vertebrae (sans chiropractor), massage muscles, and release adhesions in the fascia bringing you to back-health Utopia.

The Morph is placed perpendicular to the spine.

Back Roll - Iulian

Roll 1 (30 sec)  Round Back to Isolate Vertebrae and roll slowly along entire spine several times

Roll 2 (30 sec)  Find knots and use short rolling motion to release them

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Stretch (30 sec)  Finish with a chest opener stretch. With The Morph beneath your thoracic spine, lace your fingers behind your head and allow your arms to stretch outward.

Reward (5 sec) Pat yourself on the back for rolling like a pro!