Fitness rolling 101

December 31
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We say this every year, but I’m really looking forward to adding more wellness into my coming year. Healthier choices, a more stable workout schedule, and lots of stretching – not only will that help my flexibility within working out, but hopefully to avoid the tense shoulders I’ve been getting from long computer hours and the constant traveling. I’ve taken a few sessions with Emilie, from who introduced me to therapy balls and yoga tune up – and I must say I’m obsessed. If you’re intrigued by rollers, you should check out the interview below and one of her upcoming workshops.

How did you get into yoga tune up?
I was introduced to Yoga Tune Up® Roll Model® therapy balls four years ago during a training. As soon as I placed the therapy balls beneath my lower back, I knew I wanted to know more about this game-changing therapeutic method.

How does rolling with the yoga tune up balls different to foam rollers?
Yoga Tune Up® therapy balls are grippy, pliable and portable. Their sticky surface adheres to the skin, allowing for multiple stroke techniques, much like the skilled hands of a massage therapist. The more you use them, the softer they will get. You can use them in every nook and cranny in the body. This makes them invaluable for more precise and refined work, for example around the spine. And, they’re portable – I take mine everywhere –  I have a set in the car, in my gym bag and of course I never fly without them!

How do they help the body?
They are very effective in releasing tension. They induce a relaxation response, increase blood circulation, optimize breathing function, improve proprioception (the ability to know where the body is in space), and enhance performance and recovery by keeping injuries at bay.

How regular do you need to be doing it to feel the difference in your body?
Using the therapy balls is hygiene for your tissues, so if you have 20 minutes to dedicate to kneading out your blind spots then all the better. But when that’s not possible, a few minutes a day still yields non-negligible benefits.

How does rolling help release tension and what’s it releasing exactly?
When you self-massage an area, you create a micro-stretch in myofascia that has become matted down because of damage, lack of use or scar tissue for example.
Remember, your tissues are pliable, they will respond best to a tool that’s also pliable! The YTU Roll Model® therapy balls, because of their softness and grip and grab design, do so much more than just apply pressure – they allow for a greater depth of tissue penetration into deeper layers of connective tissue. Once the ball or balls are in place, you can apply many self-massage techniques, including maneuvering along the grain of the muscle, pinching the skin, dragging or sliding the balls against the fibers within a muscle, to name a few.
Knots are thus released more effectively, resulting in maximized circulation and perfusion to the tissues, so that you can begin to move better and with less or no discomfort. After rolling, students often say they feel their tissues have been fluffed!

Lastly, what is the best way to help roll tense shoulder tension you get from sitting at your desk?
Oh, my favorite way is to take two Original Yoga Tune Up® Roll Model® therapy balls and get down on the ground! You can also go to the wall especially if  you’re doing this at work. The two balls are placed horizontally on either side of the spine at the very top of the upper back. Hands behind the skull for support, lift your head off the floor and tuck your chin into your chest. Your pelvis also lifts off (it can stay down if that’s too much pressure). Breathe. Begin to ‘chug’ the balls up and down your upper back, leaning right, left, and returning to center. Repeat anywhere on your upper back for 3-5 minutes. This simple move is a lifesaver for desk jockeys and it’s deeply relaxing too!