In expanded polypropylene (EPP, non-toxic and recyclable material), with different shapes and hardnesses, the Blackroll is a small tool that is primarily used to relax fascia, the connective tissue that surrounds the muscle. “It is important to keep it elastic because, if it stiffens, it prevents the muscles from stretching and hydrating properly”, explains the personal trainer Monica Bianchi.
Thanks to this special roller, you can then act on water retention and on the symptoms of cellulite: “By using it in a targeted way, the microcirculation blood, there is a more efficient exchange of nutrients and waste products are eliminated, disinfecting the tissues “, continues the expert. Which, in suggesting the exercises below, recommends that you reduce the time if you feel a slight discomfort the first few times.
To relax the lower back
- Act on the iliopsoasLie down with your back on the ground and place the Blackroll under your lower back. Stand on your shoulder blades and stretch your neck, pointing your chin towards the breastbone. Then lift your legs off the ground, with your knees bent at 90 °, and hug your right hand, bringing it to your chest. Hold the position for 4-6 deep breaths, then exhale free the right leg and, inhaling, embrace the left, bringing it towards you. Hold again for 4-6 breaths.
Benefits: loosen the contractures of the lumbar area and lengthen the iliopsoas fascia, the most important of the internal muscles of the hip, which connects the lumbar vertebrae to the femur and is essential for balance, because it connects the spine to the legs.
- Straighten your back On the ground, place the Blackroll a few inches below the blades. The buttocks are supported, the knees bent and the feet on the ground, as far apart as the width of the pelvis. He brings his hands to the nape of his neck, without interlacing his fingers and straightens the neck. He inhales by activating the deep abdominals, as if wearing a tightening corset, and slightly lifts the buttocks off the ground. Thanks to the movement of the abdominal muscles, the roller will rise gently along the back. As you then exhale, it will slide towards your lower back. Repeat for 8 full breaths, without taking your feet off.
Benefits: is a fascial massage of the back. This area often contracts, especially if you work on the computer, leaning forward. The effect extends to the lumbar area, which relaxes.
To recover after training
- I relaxed my legs
Kneel on the Blackroll, resting your shins on it. To support yourself, place your hands on the ground, shoulder-width apart, and keep your back in line, with your neck extended, shoulders down and muscles under the scapular well activated to avoid hunching. Feet do not touch the ground. The movement starts from the abdomen: as you inhale, contract your abdominals by sliding the roller towards your knees; exhaling, relax them, so that the Blackroll returns to the ankles. Always keep your back in line. Perform for 6-10 times.
Benefits: it is the perfect exercise for those who dedicate themselves to running or brisk walking, because it relaxes the bands of the tibial muscles. An exaggerated tension in the long run would lead to pains that also affect the feet.
- Stretch your glutes
Sit on the Blackroll with the top of the buttocks, legs flexed and feet on the ground. Support yourself by placing your hands behind your back, arms straight and fingers pointing to the side. The shoulders are low, the chin points towards the chest. Now he raises his left leg, bringing his foot to his right knee. While inhaling, push the navel towards the spine: so the roller will slide towards the lower part of the buttocks. Then, exhaling and releasing the abdominals, the cylinder will return to the starting position. Perform 6-8 times, even with the right leg raised.
Benefits: relaxes the piriformis, a small but strong muscle that connects the sacrum to the femur. If contracted, it can cause pain similar to that caused by inflammation of the sciatic nerve.
To combat water retention
- It oxygenates the tissues
Sit on the ground, resting on your ischium, with your legs close and extended, and place the Blackroll under your calves. Extend your arms behind your back, with your hands on the ground and your fingers out. You must feel a stable support with the palms. The shoulders are low, away from the ears. As you exhale, relax your abs, sliding the roller from your calves to the back of your thigh. Inhale by retracting the abdomen and, always remaining stable on the hands, slide the roller back towards the calves. Repeat 5-10 times.
Benefits: the passage of the roller “smooths” the connective tissue, freeing it from adhesions, and allows better oxygenation of the tissues, also favoring the release of toxins that inflame them, generating cellulite.
- Deflate your thighs
Lie down with your abdomen on the ground, supported by your forearms. The right leg is extended and the left, slightly flexed and spread to the side, rests on the Blackroll, positioned a few centimeters above the knee. Put your hands together and look in front of you, to stretch your neck. Remaining firmly on the arms, inhale and push the navel towards the column: the roller will naturally roll towards the hip, massaging the entire inner thigh. Avoid the pelvic area. Then, exhaling, relax your abs: the Blackroll will slide back towards the knee. Repeat for 6-8 times, then perform by reversing the position of the legs.
Benefits: relaxes the adductors and inner thigh muscles. And it helps fight the symptoms of cellulite in this area by “deflating” the inflamed cells.
(Drawings by Alessandra Scandella)