5 Best Ways to Improve Workout Performance, According to Professional Trainers

3. Roll it Out.

All the time Americans spend sitting (over nine hours a day, according to a recent report) does more than expand our waistlines. It also gums up our hips, shoulders, ankles, and backs, leaving them more prone to injury when you hit the gym.

Your secret weapon in combatting all that tightness? The foam roller—a six-inch wide cylinder of industrial Styrofoam. Prior to mixing it up with the weights or hitting the running trail, sit or lie on top of the roller to massage and release tight muscles. Key areas include the quadriceps, upper back, the fronts of your hips, lats, calves and IT bands—the thick ribbon of connective tissue on the side of each thigh. Spend 30-60 seconds rolling out each area before you work out—more on any area that’s particularly tender.

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