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Gain Balance and Tighten our Abs
Written: Dec 15, 2007 (Updated Dec 15, 2007)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:great for the core area and balance
Cons:must be done carefully
The Bottom Line: Foam Rollers are challenging. Using a Half Round Roller makes some very difficult exercises possible.
I take Pilates classes. Lesley used foam rollers. Foam rollers are an essential tool for Pilates core ab and back stabilization and strengthening. Foam rollers are used as a balance training tool to improve balance for sports, everyday balance or in a physical therapy setting. They are also an excellent aid for self massage of the upper and lower back, calf, hamstring, glutes and quads. The roller is especially useful for IT (illiotibial) band syndrome.
The full, round foam rollers are very challenging. Lesly recently brought in Half Round Foam Rollers by Spri. There are a variety of sizes she uses. One is the size on this page. It is 12" long by 4" wide and about 3 inches from top to bottom at the largest point.
You'll get an instruction sheet. Look around because the prices vary. You may find one for $15.00.
What is Pilates?
I am not reviewing Pilates however it will be helpful to have some information in order to understand the Foam
Pilates (pronounced puh-LAH-teez) is something like a cross between yoga, stretching and calisthenics. Pilates enhances body alignment, strengthens the abdominal muscles (AKA abs) back and stabilizer muscles, stretches, strengthens and relaxes your body, when modified it is gentle enough for pregnant women, yet challenging enough for advanced exercisers. It incorporates exercises that target your abs, back and legs, making your body strong and flexible. Please talk with your doctor if you have any medical issues, have never exercised and are over the age of 50...thank you!
Pilates is a body mind exercise system developed by Joseph Hubertus Pilates approximately 80 years ago. Born to a Greek father and German mother, Joseph was a sickly child. He suffered from Rheumatic Heart Disease and other afflictions. In order to strengthen himself, he became physically active.
What makes Pilates different from Yoga is that it's more dynamic. In many moves, you hold your torso in place while moving your limbs in different directions, which challenges your balance, core strength, stability and flexibility. You will hear instructors talk about transverse muscles. Working on these muscles is the core of Pilates. Transversus abdominals run across the abdomen in an east west direction. We also work the rectus abdominus which run north - south and the oblique abdominals which are two layers run diagonally across the abdomen.
About the Foam Rollers
Foam Rollers come in a variety of lengths and widths. They are really an effective (Though I disagree about the simpleness of their use as stated by the website.) tool for developing those core stabilization muscles (transverse), body balance and awareness and strength. People ask me if Pilates gets easier. I tell them no, but you will get stronger.
The Half Round Roller is much easier to use than the round ones. Still I found this a challenging prop. Start with the flat side down and progress to the flat side up.
How you will use the Half Round Roller:
Since my wrists sometimes bother me Lesley modifies some exercises for me. I do find that many are easier to do using the Half Round Roller because it acts sort of like a cushion without the give. After you use your Roller for a long time it will get some dents but it is still totally functional.
These rollers are obviously made of foam. Keep them away from small children or pets. They should be kept dry. They are not a safety flotation device - though they look somewhat like a Noodle in white.
One of the essential exercises to do is to lie down on the Half Round Roller. Try and lift your arms off the floor even if it is for a moment. This is a great balance exercise. As we get older we lose our ability to balance so practicing is essential. Always hold in your core (abdominal area) when practicing Pilates.
Use the Roller as an aide to do push ups (chest) and crunches (abs). Remember that Pilates will work your core muscles so always keep them tight.
You can work on your quadriceps (upper thighs) by facing down with the Roller under your thighs. You'll balance on your elbows and lift your legs. You should feel this actually in just about every muscle!
The last one for today is really nice on the Half Roller. You'll lie on it vertically and do the Bridge Pose. This is a Yoga posture where you will be bringing your spine off the floor. From here you can lift one and then the other leg.
Have fun and be careful!
All my fitness equipment reviews can be found here.
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