5 Ab Exercises You Can Do With A Foam Roller
Lauren Roxburgh has been in the health and fitness industry for over 20 years, but today, she’s making headlines by making foam rolling cool, and a part of your daily routine. Her approach to fitness focuses on a technique called structural integration, which heals the body through its connective tissue, or fascia. Try her workout, based on this methodology, for a more balanced body and life.
This sequence is all about creating length, balance, and a sense of three dimensions in the sides of the body. To get there, we'll focus on the fascia and muscle tone, all the way from the knee up to the ear. With this workout, you'll reveal your waist and align your sides by releasing tension in your shoulders, arms, and side body. Let's get started!
1. Standing Side Bends
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and knees soft. With arms shoulder-width apart, hold the roller overhead. Inhale to reach up and over to the right to open up the left side of your body. Exhale to reach up and over to the left side to open up the right side of your body.
Repeat this movement five times on each side, alternating sides.
2. Figure Four
Sit on the roller and reach you right arm behind you with your right hand on the mat, thumb out to the side. Cross your right ankle over your left knee to form a figure four. Press your left hand down into your right inner thigh.
Shift your weight slightly over to the left hip/glute area and roll back and forth a few inches in each direction. Next, roll in circles to help increase circulation and blood flow and to reduce congestion.
Repeat this movement on the other side.
3. 12th-Rib Roll
Bring your left hip down to the mat and place the roller at your waistline (below your left lower ribs and above your left hip). Stack your left elbow under your left shoulder and bring your left forearm to the mat so it's running parallel to the roller. Keep your left hip on the mat, bend your right knee, and ground your right foot in front of you left knee.
Inhale as you gently rock forward, leaning and twisting your upper body toward the roller. Exhale as you roll your ribs back to center.
Repeat this movement six times on each side, alternating sides.
Place the roller under your left leg, just above the left anklebone, and cross your right leg over your left. Place your left elbow directly under your left shoulder, with your forearm flat on the floor and fingers spread; reach your right arm up and slightly back. Press down into your left leg and forearm, using this traction to lift your side body off the floor, taking care to keep the roller stable as you lift.
Inhaling, resist as you lower your hips and right arm down, hovering a few inches above the mat. Exhale as you lift with your waist to return to your starting position.
Repeat this exercise 8 to 10 times before switching to the other side.
5. Side Kicks
Hinge your legs at a 45-degree angle, with your heels together. Place the roller between your right lower rib cage and right hip. Bend your left elbow to bring your left hand lightly behind your head; bring your right forearm to the mat with your thumb pointing up and your right elbow slightly behind your right shoulder.
Inhale as you use your belly to lift your legs, maintaining your upper body posture. Exhale as you lower your legs, leaving them to hover slightly over the mat.
From the book Taller, Slimmer, Younger: 21 Days to a Foam Roller Physique by Lauren Roxburgh. Copyright © 2016 by Lauren Roxburgh. Reprinted by arrangement with Ballantine Books, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.