The One Fitness Staple That's Helping Kaley Cuoco Get Through Quarantine
She even called it her latest "obsession."
Out of all the little things in life that are helping you endure this never-ending period of self-isolation, a foam roller probably wouldn’t make the top of your list—or even your top 20. But for Kaley Cuoco, the simple recovery tool has been her go-to quarantine staple.
In a new episode of her "Cup of Cuoco" IGTV series, the actor shared a handful of things that "have really gotten [her] through quarantine." In addition to a super cute HydroMate water bottle emblazoned with motivational phrases that encourage you to stay hydrated, Cuoco's latest "obsession" is the Rollga High-Density Foam Roller (Buy It, $45, amazon.com).
Recommended by her trainer Ryan Sorensen, the foam roller allows you to practice self-myofascial release—aka a technique to stretch out your connective tissue when it becomes thick and tight, rather than flexible like it's supposed to be. When you regularly foam-roll over your soft tissue areas (think: calves, quads, glutes, chest, upper back, and more) with gentle pressure, you can increase flexibility, improve your range of motion, boost blood flow and circulation, and even relieve any pain and soreness you’re feeling, according to the American Council on Exercise (ACE). (Related: The Best Foam Rollers for Muscle Recovery)
While any foam roller can get the job done, Cuoco’s pick stands out from the crowd with its unique design. The foam roller features three small grooves that your prominent bones drop into while you roll, allowing you to target areas that may be tougher to hit with a standard roller, and reducing discomfort in the process. Just note: If you’ve never tried foam rolling before, you’ll want to use a softer foam version (Buy It, $40, amazon.com) of Cuoco’s go-to, as higher-density foam produces more pressure on target tissues and can cause discomfort or tenderness in beginners, according to the ACE.
Even though you’ll normally see gym-goers foam rolling their quads or calves, Cuoco said her sister, Briana recommended she use it in an off-beat area: her stomach. “At first I was like, ‘That sounds horrible,’” Cuoco said in the video. “And it actually works, because I used to get such bad—just from working my abs—soreness. This is the key.”
Turns out, the Cuocos are onto something. A foam roller can be just what your abs need when they're ultra-tense and sore, says ISSA-certified personal trainer, Alesha Courtney. While stretching on your own can help increase mobility and elongate the muscles, "foam rolling can target a specific area that might be sore or tight and can help release that," she explains. So, when your abs have been worked so hard it hurts to cough, a foam rolling session to loosen the tension could do you some good.
Foam rolling your abdomen can also come with health perks that go beyond easing muscle pain. "Opening up your stomach tissue will not only help you feel more relaxed, [but] overall it will help with digestive health, organ stimulation, and lower back stiffness," says Cuoco's trainer, Ryan Sorensen. "Rolling your abdominals will help to stimulate the abdominal organs, while also increasing the efficiency of the bowels and relieving bloat."
Plus, when you foam roll your abdominal muscles and release your psoas—the deepest core muscle and a challenging spot to reach—you can relieve a lot of built-up tension in the lower back, all while improving your range of motion throughout the hip complex, explains Sorensen.
To safely foam roll your abdomen and reap all the benefits it has to offer, start by lying face-down on the floor, elbows bent at a 90-degree angle, and forearms resting on the floor. Place the foam roller beneath your lower abdomen and shift some of your weight onto your right or left side, creating a gentle pressure. Then, roll up and down the abdomen for 15 to 20 seconds and switch sides, says Courtney. Just remember: "There are many moving parts in that region and you need to be careful to not over do it," says Sorensen. (Related: How Bad Is It to Just Foam Roll When You're Sore?)
So the next time you want to do nothing more than plop yourself on the couch to soothe your quivering abs after a core-busting plank workout, try turning to a Cuoco-approved foam roller instead to ease your aches and pains.
Buy It: Rollga High Density Foam Roller, $45, amazon.com