Balance Exercises – Foam Roller & Half Round Roller (Part II)
Four more great exercises to do on either a full round foam roller or a half round foam roller. Choose between the 18″ Foam Roller, a 36″ Foam Roller, or an 36″ Half Round Roller. The full round rollers are made of a high density foam construction so they’ll keep their round shape longer so they’ll continue to roll and offer you the challenge you’re looking for. Please note that some exercises require two foam rollers to place individually under your feet or under hands & knees, etc.
Click here for the first four exercises that were presented in Part 1.
There are many different and challenging balance and stability exercises that can be performed on the foam roller. As we discussed in my previous post, the half foam roller can be used with the flat side up or down as a starting point. You may progress to the full round roller when mastery of the half roller has been accomplished.
Please also take note of the following general principles when training balance and stability.
- First, whenever possible train without shoes. There are many receptors in the feet that give feedback to the nervous system about joint position.
- Always engage the abdominals and the rest of your core musculature while doing these exercises.
- Make sure you feel comfortable doing all the exercises on a stable surface (the floor) before you do them on the roller.
Exercise: PRONE REACH ON THE FOAM ROLLER
- Place the foam roller parallel to your mat.
- Sit at the end of the roller with the knees bent and the feet flat on the floor.
- Use the hands to carefully guide you onto your back.
- You should be balanced and supported on the roller from the head to the tail.
- Try to find your center and hold onto it during the exercise.
- To start, inhale and hover the left hand and right foot off the floor a few inches.
- Exhale and slowly decelerate them back down to the floor.
- If taking both the hand and foot off proves too difficult just take one off at a time.
- Inhale hover the right hand.
- Exhale slowly lower the right hand. Inhale lift the left foot.
- Exhale lower the left foot.
- Change sides.
After you have mastered the hovering move on.
- To start inhale and just hover the left hand and right foot off the floor a few inches.
- Exhale and slowly bring the left wrist in line with the shoulder and the right leg into a table top position (at the top the knee is over the hip and the knee and ankle are aligned)
- Hold inhale.
- Exhale and slowly decelerate everything down.
- Again, If taking both the arm and leg off at the same time proves too difficult try taking one at a time off.
- Inhale slowly bring the left leg into table top.
- Exhale slowly lower the leg back to the starting position.
- Inhale hover the right arm off the floor.
- Exhale slowly decelerate it back down.
- Change sides.
Exercise: BRIDGING WITH THE FOAM ROLLER
- Place the foam roller perpendicular to your mat and sit in front of it.
- Lie down on your back and place the roller under your feet.
- The roller should be at the arch of the foot.
- The feet should be hip distance apart and parallel.
- Eyes are to the ceiling and the arms are beside the body.
- Exhale and start to peel the spine off the floor starting at the tailbone.
- The roller should stay still as you roll up.
- Stop at the top of the shoulders.
- Make sure there is no weight on the neck.
- Hold and inhale.
- Exhale and slowly start to peel down again from the top of the spine until you return to the starting position.
To add on hold the position at the top and try to float one foot a few inches off the roller and set it back down.
- As you lift the foot no change should occur in the spine and pelvis.
- Change feet and when finished slowly roll down.
To advance even more you can hold at the top, float one foot up and extend the leg out at an angle or up to the ceiling.
- Again, the spine and pelvis should remain the same as you extend the leg.
- Gently bring the leg back down and change sides.
- When finished slowly roll down.
Exercise: TIGHTROPE BALANCE ON HALF FOAM ROLLER
Place a sticky mat and a half foam roller on top and parallel to the mat a few feet from the wall. You want it close enough to the wall that if needed the fingertips can touch and help steady you. First try this balance exercise with the flat side down and then progress to the flat side up.
- Carefully stand with one foot in front of the other.
- Hold the position with the legs long and arms hanging by your sides, extended out to the sides or extended out in front of you.
Add a squat.
- Keeping your center inhale, bend the knees and come into a squat position on the tightrope.
- The back heel may lift a bit.
- Exhale and slowly extend back up.
- Do 2 to 4 reps.
- Gently come off and change sides.
- Don’t be surprised if one side is easier than the other.
Exercise: SKIER ON THE HALF FOAM ROLLERS
Place a sticky mat and two half foam rollers one beside the other about hip distance apart on the mat.
Have a wall nearby or a gondola pole to help steady you as you step onto the half foam rollers and find your center.
Eventually you want to be able to do the balance without the wall or pole.
- Hold this position with straight legs and eyes to the horizon for 2 to 4 breath cycles.
- To advance you can add arm movement.
- Keep the body upright and centered, inhale and slowly sweep the arms up to shoulder level.
- Exhale and slowly bring the arms back to your side.
- Try to do 4-6 reps keeping optimal form and balance.
- To add on further add a squat.
- Inhale, bend the knees and hinge the torso slightly forward.
- Exhale, press into the feet and slowly stand up.
- Do 4-6 reps.
- To add on here, hold the squat for 20 to 30 seconds with optimal form and balance.
- Gently return to straight legs.