The Foam Roller is an effective, inexpensive, and light weight peice of exercise equipment that can be used in a variety of ways! Foam rollers are used for self-myofascial release, self message, spine mobilization, balance and core training, and flexibility and corrective exercises.
I love the foam roller and use it all the time, even while I am watching TV. My favorite use of the foam roller (other than the massage affect) is for thoracic and lumbar spine mobilization.
We are all to often always in a state of flexion (bending forward) and rarely (unless you are a gymnast or fitness enthusiast) take our spine into extension (bending backward). Using the foam roller can help mobilize your spine (or maintain its normal, healthy state), which is essential to good posture.
Two great spine mobilization exercises:
Thoracic Spine Mobilization
While on your back, place the 4" foam roller just under your shoulder blades. Place your hands behind your head. Gently lean backward over the roller as far as comfortable. Exhale, relax and hold for 5 count then curl back up. Repeat twice at each level. Move the roller upward an inch and repeat the process. Do this again on to two levels higher.
Lumbar Spine Mobilization
While on your back, place the 4" foam roller along the top of the buttocks (below belt-line). Gently rock your knees from side to side while the roller is along the top of your pelvis. Do 10 times slowly. Then, move the roller up one inch, then gently lower your hips over the roller so that your low back arches, then tilt the pelvis backward. After 5-6 tilts forward and backward, move the roller up your spine another inch and continue slowly to rock your pelvis over the roller. YOu may also rotate your knees slightly from side to side with the roller in the low back.
The foam roller is a must addition to your exercise routine! Here are some links to inform and guide you about the effectiveness and use of foam rollers. They come in many sized and you can buy them at your fitness center, sports stores, and online!