12/16/2012 10:13 am ET Updated Feb 15, 2013

Top 3 Foam Roll Exercises

If you haven't been asleep for all of 2012, you've probably heard the praises of foam rolling. I'm not one to jump on trends for the trend's sake, but this is no joke! Foam rolling helps to create and maintain long, smooth muscles by massaging out the knots and releasing trigger points. It's also a fantastic and cheap way to release the fascia, which I'm sure you already know all about! Unless a doctor tells you otherwise, this is a fabulous addition to any healthy living routine.

Here are my three favorite exercises on the foam roller:

1. IT Band stretch: Lie on your side, using your hands for support. Bend the top leg to unload some of the pressure and maintain balance. Roll from your hip down to the knee and be sure to rest on any soft spots to encourage release.


2. Hip/Glute Release: Sit down on the meaty part of the muscle and roll around to release. Use one or both legs to increase or decrease the amount of support.


3. Quad Massage: Lie on the roller and roll from hip to knee using one foot extended to balance if necessary or if pressure is too intense with both lifted.


I'd even go as far as saying it's as good as a sports massage, so you can save yourself the $60 and pick up a foam roller for $15 instead.

For more by Erin Motzenbecker, click here.

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