Are You Skipping This Important Part of Your Workout?

Hands up if you feel like your muscles get super tight in winter? Mine are raised oh so high. My body definitely prefers warmer weather (cue all the non-Californian readers rolling their eyes haha).

It’s really important to combat muscle stiffness caused by weather, intense training, and sedentary jobs to reduce your risk of injury. I came across an awesome foam rolling routine a couple weeks ago and asked the author, Cole, if I could share it! He agreed and was so excited he offered to write a post to go along with it for my readers.

Without further ado, enjoy!

Hello Life in Spandex readers! My name is Cole Matthews, I’m a fitness trainer from Southern California and I’m excited to talk about how to keep our muscles warm and ready for action during the brisk winter weather through foam rolling!

We’re officially into January (and 2017, yay New Year!), which means we are well into winter and you’ve probably already had your fair share of days where things are so cold you can barely move your body. You’ve probably got 3 layers of clothing on just to go outside, and your nights are spent bundled up under a mountain of blankets with your home’s heater on full blast. It’s a regular way of life during these brisk few months before spring arrives. (I’m imagining since I am located in Southern California lol).

For most people, this body-restricting cold weather also means that workouts get put on hold – after all, how are you supposed to do squats if your muscles refuse to bend? Stretching is a great place to start, as Emily has gone over recently in her Silent Night Stretch Routine, but to take things a step further and really get your muscles back into their energized summer-warmth state, I want to enlighten you on a beautiful little practice known as foam rolling.

If you already know what foam rolling is, then great! But for those who’ve never tried it before, foam rolling is a pretty simple concept: you massage your muscles using a foam cylinder to release tightness, push out knots, and make your muscles feel soothed and relaxed. It’s basically like your $20 personal massage therapist (but you only have to pay it one time).

Foam rolling is typically done after a workout to help combat muscle soreness, but the truth is that you can foam roll anytime you want, which is why it’s such a lifesaver during the winter when your muscles tend to be a little tighter and more restricted than normal. Hopping on the roller for 15 minutes each day can really help to warm your muscles up and get them back into regular movement.

If you don’t have a foam roller, you can find them pretty much anywhere: online, inside a local sporting goods store, and there should be a number of them in your gym (if you attend one). Once you have access to one, my girlfriend and I created a huge foam roller exercise chart for you so that you can start to learn the different moves. There are images and instructions for rolling each muscle, so it should be pretty easy to pick up – just remember to be patient, because it does take some practice before you’ll get the technique down perfectly. If you need any further detail, you can also see the original article here for more in-depth descriptions of each exercise.

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Foam Roller Exercise Guide

You can find more articles from Cole at HomeGymr!

Health and happiness,


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Hi and welcome to Life in Spandex! I'm Emily, a personal trainer who believes there should be no secrets standing in your way to getting fit. I am sharing my knowledge here on this blog in order to help you reach your goals. Fitness should be fun, eating healthy should taste good, and feeling your absolute best is the ultimate goal. Let's get fit together!
  1. Best workout tool ever!! Love and hate to do it but love the results. I like to lay over it to roll out my upper back. Great for posture

    1. Thanks Wendy!! And I agree!! Sometimes rolling out can seem like such a chore. But a necessary one!

  2. Wow, that is so thorough and the pictures make it look a lot more doable! Thanks for sharing this as a resource!

    1. You’re so welcome!!!

  3. So helpful! My partner is a big fan of foam rolling but I only occasionally do my back, this post has definitely inspired me to try it more seriously!!

    1. Yay that makes me happy to hear Ali!

  4. My son just told me about foam rolling! He started a strength and conditioning class after school and was so sore after the first couple of days and then the coach introduced this. I can imagine it would be useful for me because I sit at a desk all day! And yeah, Cole got it right — I’m in New England and we’ve all got our furnaces on and three (or more) layers when we go outside!

    1. Foam rolling is like the cheapest massage you’ll ever get! Love the release 🙂

  5. I have a foam roller at home, but I really need to use it more! Love this comprehensive list!!

    1. I can’t rely on myself to do anything once I’m home after work lol! For my workouts I gotta be at the gym or studio for some reason haha

  6. Stretching before workout is most important thing to do. But this roller looks like lot of fun. I see it first time 🙂

    1. Hi Marcella, it’s actually more important to stretch after your workout. You want to warm up your muscles before a workout with some light cardio or body weight exercise and/or some foam rolling. But, studies have shown that stretching before a workout can inhibit optimal strength and doesn’t actually prevent injury (it’s just your overall range of lotion). Interesting, huh?!

  7. I can’t imagine any workout without stretching. Are there really any people who dont do it?

    1. You’d be surprised Joanna!

  8. Need to try to do this exercises, did not keep on my workout routine lately xoxo

  9. Im not even doing a workout let alone skipping an important part of the workout haha! this looks pretty good to be honest though! #twinklytuesday

    1. Haha all it takes it starting with a littleb

  10. Am not so good at workout but you just made me realise a few things I always miss out when I work out, great read and worth my new trials at it.

    1. I’m happy to hear that Lex!

  11. Eeeps! I am in fact skipping this important part of my work out!

  12. Thank you for these tips but I hurt my abs last time using this and tore a muscle. Since then i avoided using them. xx

    1. Oh my gosh! I’ve never heard of that. I’d be interested to know what happened

  13. Why, yes, I surely am… and my muscles can feel it! I even have that foam roller too! Love the infographic 🙂

    1. Yay! Thabks Tess 🙂

  14. I definitely skip this part of my workout! I bought one of those foam rolling sticks in an effort to make this happen more often and more easily, but that also just sits in the corner, untouched!

    1. Hahaha it’s so easy to do that! Just start small with 5 minutes 2-3 days per week. Set a time to do it on your phone and hold yourself to it

  15. Great list! I need all the instruction I can get because I’m a clutz!

    1. Haha I feel ya Elizabeth!

  16. Love the infographic! Being able to see the pictures made a lot more sense than just reading about it.

    1. So happy you like it Susan 🙂

  17. Will definitely have to check these out! Looks like a great tool for simple at home stretching and movements that will motivate me to get more active!

    1. Yay happy to hear that!

  18. This looks rather like a pool noodle! What a fun way to get moving and still get a full body workout.

    1. Haha it kinda does! This is not actually a workout per say but an important part of recovery 🙂

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