Make Sunday Recovery Day
Ah, finally a rest day. Consider Sunday the day you help your body rebuild and repair from all the hard work you put in during the weekly training plan. For foam rolling, opt for a regular roller, a vibrating one, a lacrosse ball, or a stick — whichever hits the spot. Now take some time to revel in your effort. You’re a winning athlete after all.
RELATED: Are You Foam Rolling All Wrong?
Sunday Week 1 Plan
1. Roll Feet
How to: With a ball or small roller, slowly massage through the bottom and each side for 90-120 seconds.
2. Knee-to-Chest Hamstring Stretch
How to: Lie on your back, with one leg extended. Hug your other knee into your chest. Grab behind your knee (or just above or below it) and straighten your leg toward the ceiling, foot flexed. You can also use a towel or resistance band placed around your foot, instead of holding behind the leg, for a deeper, more comfortable stretch. Hold for 30-60 seconds, then switch sides.
3. Deep Quad Stretch
How to: Place the “laces” side of your foot against a wall or on a chair or couch, knee on the ground. Plant your other foot on the ground, with knee bent 90 degrees. (Walk the front foot out farther if necessary.) The closer your back knee is to the wall, the more intense the stretch. Keep shoulders in line with hips, pelvis tucked, so you’re not overarching your back. For a deeper stretch, reach the same arm as the back knee up and overhead. Hold for 30-60 seconds, then switch sides.
4. Lizard Pose
How to: Starting from your hands and knees, step one foot forward to plant your foot on the ground to the outside of your hands, knee bent 90 degrees. Lift your back knee up off the floor. Stay on your hands if this is a deep enough stretch, or drop down to your forearms to intensify it. You can also play with bending and straightening your back knee. Hold for 30-60 seconds, then switch sides.
5. T-Spine Rotation
How to: Lying on your side, bend your top knee 90 degrees and place it on the floor in front of you. Place your bottom hand on your knee. Lift your head slightly off the ground. Straighten your top arm out in front of you and moving in a rainbow-like motion, sweep that top arm over your head to reach the floor on the other side. Return it back overhead to the start position. Repeat, and then switch sides.
Sunday Week 2 Plan
1. Roll Calves
How to: With one leg on a roller or ball, roll slowly up and down and on each side for 1-2 minutes each. Experiment with flexing and pointing your toes when you reach a particularly tight spot.
2. Roll Quads
How to: Roll the top of your thighs with both legs on a foam roller, and then slightly rotate to each side (one leg at a time). Move slowly up and back down for 90-120 seconds each. Pause on particularly tight spots and bend and straighten your knee, as well as roll to each side to work out the tension.
How to: Sit with one leg bent in front of you at 90 degrees and one leg bent at 90 degrees next to you (shins and knees on the floor). Sitting up tall, lead with your chest and forward fold over your front leg, hold for 3-5 seconds. Sit up tall again, then rotate toward your other leg and fold over, leading with your chest. Hold for 3-5 seconds. Repeat for 8-10 reps, then switch your legs.
4. Pigeon Pose
How to: From a plank, bring one knee forward. Place your shin on the ground, parallel to the front of the mat, knee bent and placed behind your wrist. Lower your hips down to the ground. Back leg should be straight and hips square forward. Stay up on your hands, or walk them forward to intensify the stretch, leaning over at the hips. Hold for 30-60 seconds, then switch sides.
5. Frog Pose
How to: Get on your knees and separate them so they’re about as wide as a yoga mat. Walk your hands out in front of you. Leading with your chest and keeping your back flat, hit a child’s-like pose. Hold for 30-60 seconds, then switch sides.
6. Roll Lats
How to: Lie with your back on a foam roller and roll from just below your shoulder blades to just below your neck. Play with arms movements, moving them laterally or overhead. Take it slow and roll for 90-120 seconds.
7. Stability Ball Roll-Outs
How to: Starting in kneeling position with forearms on a stability ball, palms facing in toward each other. Sit tall with shoulders rolled down and back. Lower chest towards the floor, while reaching hands forward and maintaining a flat back. Return to start and repeat for 90-120 seconds.
RELATED: Are You Stretching All Wrong?
Sunday Week 3 Plan
1. Roll Hamstrings
How to: With both legs on top of a foam roller, slowly roll from just above knees to just below your butt for 90-120 seconds. Tilt slightly to one side and repeat, and then the other.
2. Release Piriformis
How to: Using a tennis or lacrosse ball or roller, sit on top of it so it’s right on your glute. To intensify it, take the ankle of the glute you’re rolling and place it on top of your opposite knee. Roll slowly in circles for 90-120 seconds. You can play with leg sweeps to the left and right of that working leg.
How to: Lying face down, place arms out to a T and palms on the floor. Start by bending your knee with the goal of getting your foot to the opposite hand while keeping both shoulders on the floor. Place your head on a pillow if needed. Hold for 3-5 seconds, then return your leg back to the ground. Repeat for 8-10 reps, then switch sides.
4. High Plank to Downward Facing Dog
How to: Start in a plank position, with shoulders over wrists. Then lift your hips and push your chest back to hit a downward facing dog. Continue moving slowly between the two poses for 30-60 seconds.
Sunday Week 4 Plan
1. Roll Shins
How to: Prop yourself up on your forearms and place both shins on the roller. Slowly roll front and back, then tilt slightly to each side for 1-2 minutes each.
2. Lunge Sequence
How to: Start in a high lunge, left leg forward and bent 90 degrees, back left leg straight. Straighten and bend your left front knee 4-6 times. Come back to high lunge. Drop your back right knee down to the ground. Straighten and bend your front left knee again, 4-6 times. Come back to a high lunge and straighten both legs. Walk your hands to the right side so you are in a forward fold with legs wider than your hips. Perform 3-4 deep lateral lunges on each side, keeping the heel planted to the ground at all times and using your hands for support if necessary. Repeat with your right leg forward and left leg back.
3. Iron Cross
How to: Lying on your back, place arms out to a T with palms facing up. Start by raising one leg straight up so your hip is bent 90 degrees. Lower your foot down and over toward the opposite hand, with the goal of the two touching. Keep both shoulders on the floor. Hold for 3-5 seconds, then bring your leg straight up again. Perform 8-10 reps, then switch sides.
4. Pronated Shoulder Opener
How to: Start lying face down with one hand out to a T with the palm on the floor, and the other hand directly under the shoulder. Press into the hand that is under the shoulder, rotating your body away from the grounded hand. Allow your top leg to fall over to the other side for a deeper stretch. Hold for 3-5 seconds, then return to the starting position. Repeat for 8-10 reps.
5. Supine Shoulder Rotation
How to: Start lying down on your back with knees bent. Elbows should be in line with your shoulders and bent at a 90-degree angle, fingers pointing up. Move palms toward the floor and then back with the goal of getting your palms and knuckles to the ground each time. Keep fingers, hands and wrists straight the entire time. Continue moving your arms forward and backward for 30-60 seconds.
6. Roll Shoulders
How to: Lying with your back on a foam roller or ball or with the ball against a wall, play with different arm movements and you slowly roll around your shoulders for 90-120 seconds. Raise your arm above your head and down to your hip or sweep it in front of your body.
7. Roll Traps
How to: Place a roller or ball on your upper traps (the muscle at the top of your back, at the base of your neck) on the edge of a wall so your ear is “listening” to the wall. Slowly roll up and down and side to side for 90-120 seconds. Work with arm movements, raising and lowering your hands as you go.