Living with Harmony ~ A Blog for your Mind & Body


Balance Exercises – Foam Roller or Half Round Foam Roller (Part I)

Posted in Core/Fitness,Foam Roller,How-To by Harmony on November 5, 2010

Part one of two posts on performing balance exercises using a full round foam roller or a half round foam roller.  Beginners may wish to start with a half round and then progress into the full round after building strength and improving balance.  Choose between the 18″ Round Foam Roller or the 36″ Round Foam Roller.  Enjoy the first four exercises and all of their variations and then come back next week for Part Two.

Balance and Stability Exercises on the Foam Roller: Part 1

Created Mar 31 2009 – 14:41

One of the best ways to grow old with grace, keep us agile and prevent falls is to practice balance and stability exercises.   Working on balance and stability can help us maintain optimal alignment and balanced musculature.  One of the best ways to do this is on our Foam Roller!  If you find using a regular foam roller is too challenging or you feel that it is not safe try starting off with a half foam roller which will provide more stability.  The half foam rollers are flat underneath and round at the top so balance isn’t as challenging.  For many of these exercises, it is an excellent idea to have a wall near by to help you balance.  Start by putting as much pressure as you need with the hands on the wall.  As you get more experienced with the balance exercises you can start to lighten your touch and one day take the hands all the way off!

Exercise:  STANDING BALANCE ON THE FOAM ROLLER
For more stability have a sticky mat under your foam roller.

  • Stand facing the wall.
  • The foam roller should be in front of you parallel to the wall.
  • Place your fingertips on the wall to balance and carefully step on the roller one foot at a time.
  • The arch of your foot should be on the roller.
  • Hold for 3 to 4 breath cycles trying to equalize your weight and find your center .
  • Eventually with both feet on the roller you want to lighten your touch on the wall until you no longer need the support.

Now add on:

  • Add squats on the foam roller.
  • Use the fingertips on the wall again to help you balance.
  • Inhale and bend the knees so the kneecap is pointing towards the wall.  Don’t bend so deeply that the knees jut past the toes.
  • Make sure the eyes stay at the horizon and the chest stays open.
  • NO slumping.
  • Exhale and slowly rise back up straightening the legs.

Now add on:

  • To add on you can try to float one foot up at a time.
  • Please use your light touch on the wall to help you balance.
  • Be sure that you are not slumping or collapsing into your standing leg.
  • You should imagine your standing leg as a very straight, sturdy tree trunk.
  • Start this exercise by just floating the foot a few inches off the foam roller.
  • When you become more adept bring the knee higher.

Exercise:  CRESENT POSE ON THE FOAM ROLLER
For more stability, place a sticky mat under your foam roller.

  • Stand facing the wall.
  • The foam roller should be in front of you parallel to the wall.
  • Place your fingertips on the wall to balance and carefully step your right foot onto the foam roller.
  • Scoot your left foot back so you are able to come into a lunge position.
  • You should be on the ball of the back foot with the heel lifted.
  • Make sure the feet are not one behind the other but that there is space between the feet like they are on railroad tracks.
  • When beginning this exercise keep the fingers on the wall and hold for 3 to 4 breath cycles before you change sides.
  • Once you become more experienced try to lighten the hands, take them off the wall and ultimately (very advanced) bring the straight arms up beside the face with the fingertips pointing to the ceiling.

Now add on:

  • To add on you can try to keep the roller still while  lengthening and bending the front leg.
  • Again, it’s best when you begin this exercise to keep the fingers on the wall.
  • When you become more adept you can try taking the hands off and lifting the arms above the head.  (very advanced!!)

Exercise:  PLANK TO PUSH UP WITH THE FOAM ROLLER
For more stability, place a sticky mat under your foam roller.  The foam roller should be perpendicular to your mat.

  • Start on your knees in front of your foam roller.
  • Place the hands a bit wider than shoulder distance apart.
  • Depending on what feels best for the wrist, the fingers can be pointing to the front or they can be angled in towards each other just a bit.
  • Inhale and start to bring the straight legs behind you, the hips should stay down and you should be pushing away from the roller so that the shoulder blades stay apart.
  • In this straight plank position do 3 to 4 breath cycles.
  • Gently release and sit into a child’s pose to rest.

Now add on:

  • To add on:  come back into the plank position.
  • Inhale and bend the elbows out to the sides of the room.
  • The bend should be small and there should be no changes in the position of the head, spine , pelvis or legs.
  • Exhale and slowly rise back into the starting position.
  • Do 3 to 4 reps and then rest back into child’s pose.

Exercise:  ARM OPPOSITE LEG ON THE FOAM ROLLER
For this one you need two regular sized foam rollers (*Note: consider 18″-36″ rollers, depending on the width of your shoulders and hips as this is the distance you will be resting your hands/knees).  This exercise will have the most balance challenge so it is a good idea to use a sticky mat under your rollers and consider using half foam rollers to make the exercise more doable.

  • Place two foam rollers down one in front of the other, perpendicular to the mat.
  • Start kneeling behind your two foam rollers.
  • Place one knee at a time on the roller closest to you.
  • Make sure the knees are just hip distance apart.
  • Place the hands one at a time on the front roller.
  • Make sure the hands are only shoulder distance apart.
  • Holding a neutral spine and pelvis take 2 to 3 breath cycles.
  • To add on:  try lifting one leg at a time and then one arm at a time trying to keep your balance and the squared position of your hips and shoulders.
  • To advance even more:  try lifting one leg and the opposite arm while keeping your balance and squared position of your hips and shoulders.

Join us next time for Part Two of Balance and Stability on the Foam roller.

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  1. […] Balance Exercises – Foam Roller or Half Round Foam Roller (Part I) Part one of two posts on performing balance exercises using a full round foam roller or a half round foam roller. Beginners may wish to start with a half round and then progress into the full round after building strength and improving . […]


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