Foam rolling (also known as, self myofascial release-SMR) is actually a HUGE part of any workout, and is a crucial component to your warm up. So why foam roll?? Well when we exercise or do any sort of repeatitve movement our muscles shorten and tighten up. In order to have a full range of motion, proper flexibility, proper strength production we need to ensure these muscles go back to their original length. Whether youre a dancer, runner, or weight lifter if your muscles are too tight or short they will cause problems!

Foam Rolling 101: 

1. Get the tools of the trade, a hard roller, a trigger point ball for the trickier spots (or lacrosse ball works well)
2. When you foam roll you place the tool along the muscle roll until you feel an area of discomfort or pain and then HOLD. The biggest mistake is to roll back and forth over it, you need to apply pressure for about 30-60s before the muscle will release at all! There are receptors in your muscle that only respond to sustained pressure, these are the ones which cause the muscle to relax!
3. Repeat! Day in day out, before a workout followed by a dynamic warm up (movement based not static stretching) & after a workout.

Some key areas a lot of people find tight: 
1. Hips and glutes (butt). Lay on your side with foam roller placed under side glute hip area. Find the spot, hold 30-60s or until the pain lessens. I often use the ball to get into the deep glutes
2. Calves (or baby cows, as I refer to them), place ball under calf in the belly of the muscle, put our body weight on it and hold. This one kills me, my poor cows are so tight all the time. 
3. Latissimus Dorsi, aka the lats. Lay on your side, with the roller under the arm and relax your weight onto the roller, and move so you're laying on it more than pictures too. 
4. Upper Traps, this is a serious area of tightness for most people, especially when you sit or use a computer. Lay on the ball with it on either side of your spine (not directly on the spine!) and when you find the spot hold it. Works best on the ground so the ball doesn't bounce away 
5. Pectoralis major. Again when you sit a lot you tend to round the shoulders and the pecs shorten up. Place ball between pec and the wall, its a bit close to the armpit, hold it their and let it relax.