For a long time, “rolling out” was something they did at the start of every Hill Street Blues episode after calling attendance. Or how Ferris Bueller left the parking garage after picking up that ‘borrowed’ Ferrari.
It’s what the Transformers do instead of just leaving for their next mission, and what the coach calls to tell the quarterback to move outside the pocket to throw the ball.
It’s what you’re doing when you get out of bed, and also if you find yourself releasing a new line of aircraft.
Then, it became something you did on the floor of the gym, moving back and forth atop a big cylinder of really dense foam that’s about 6in in diameter, as a form of self-myofascial release.
However, as athletes, we sometimes find ourselves out on the road, stranded in strange Airbnb’s, without this very crucial piece of dimpled foam and plastic. The same foam and plastic that has kindly dedicated itself to relieving the tension that has accumulated in places such as the medial and lateral heads of our gastrocnemius. But what if we just subbed in a big piece of wax of almost the same dimensions and shape? Or a glass vessel with fermented grape juice inside? Or the wheels of a skateboard even? Maybe they possess the ability to rid us of muscular tension and tightness all the same, and the reign of the divine foam and plastic will grind to a halt.
Personally we’d rather be in Bueller’s Ferrari, but still, we ran some tests and here’s what we found.
1. Golf Ball – Foot
Take a golf ball, or, if no golf balls are immediately at hand, find one in the rough of Hole 11 at your local country club—it’s hard to hit straight after seven white wine spritzers.
Step 1: Google “anatomy of the foot”.
Step 2: Roll the ball along the entire length of the underside of your foot. Focus on the arch of your foot (plantar fascia) and roll it laterally across the proximal joints of your toes.
Step 3: Alternatively, just find any sore spots and go for a hole in one.
Photographs & Direction: James Whiting Words: James Whiting & James Lynch
Styling: Helena Abapo Clothing courtesy of Kloke
2. ROLLING PIN — CALF
When it comes to recovery, every minute counts. In the time it takes for your loaf of organic sourdough to rise in the oven, you could be rolling your pins enough for your calves to be totally light, fluffy and tension-free in time for breakfast.
Step 1: Lightly dust your rolling pin with plain flour.
Step 2: Take a seat and bend a knee.
Step 3: Applying even but caring pressure, roll the pin from the Achilles tendon to the rear of the knee, and back again.
Step 4: Remember to work the angles—get into the sides and around to the front of your calf.
Step 5: Repeat as kneaded.
3. POOL BALL — GLUTE
Take a pool ball mid-game. While stolen colour balls easily go unnoticed, we suggest taking the eight ball for a touch of magic.
Step 1: Take a seat and take your pool ball out of your pocket. Place it under your glute, at the proximal end of your hamstring or the distal end of your back.
Step 2: Once lined up, sink in.
Step 3: Avoid pool sharks and repeat often.
4. MASON JAR WITH OATS — CALF
Reusable jars are a great way to minimise your environmental impact. They’re also a renewable source of muscle recovery.
Step 1: Go to the pantry—you’ll find a jar there.
Step 2: Place the jar at the back of your knee and roll it like oats to the top of your heel.
Step 3: In case of spilled oats, don’t cry—you can always buy more—just keep rolling.
Step 4: Continue and repeat until your calves have the consistency of porridge.
5. LIT CANDLE — QUADRICEP
Creating the right atmosphere for recovery is crucial—make it easy for yourself and set the mood with some candlelight.
Step 1: Light the candle to provide extra warmth for deeper relaxation. We recommend a lovely sandalwood scent in a natural beeswax.
Step 2: With the heat increasing blood flow to aid recovery, gently roll along the length of your quadricep.
[NB – Avoid wearing loose-fitting or synthetic garments.]
Step 3: Snuff candle upon completion or place by bath. Add Epsom salts for best results.
6. WINE — HAMSTRING
Wine’s therapeutic qualities have been used in recovery since ancient times. As a vasodilator, red wine can help replace post-workout toxins with hints of oak and robust tannins.
Step 1: Open a bottle and pour a glass—for best results, decant prior to rolling.
Step 2: Place the bottle at the proximal end of your hamstring and roll to the back of the knee.
Step 3: Once you’ve finished breaking down that scar tissue and tension from the semitendinosus or biceps femoris, unwind with another glass.
Step 4: Swap legs and repeat.
Step 5: Waste not, want not. May as well finish the bottle now.
7. SKATEBOARD WHEELS —
Find a skateboard and remove its trucks—or don’t. [NB A scooter will not suffice—it will be the end of you.]
Step 1: Roll a single wheel along the length of your quadricep from hip crease to kneecap.
Step 2: For maximum looseness, take a different line and work your vastus medialis and vastus lateralis.
8. PVC PIPE — ITB (ILIOTIBIAL BAND)
Having legs that feel more like Pink Batts and less like rebar is no longer a pipe dream.
Step 1: find your nearest construction site, dive into the skip and grab a length of PVC pipe.
Step 2: place the pipe at the proximal end of your ITB (just below your hip) and roll from your hip to your knee.
Step 3: swap legs and repeat until you feel as fresh, light and spacious as the sunroom of your dream home.
9. CANNED BAKED BEANS — ITB
Packed full of protein, complex carbohydrates and a mysterious tomato sauce, baked beans are a God-sent recovery tool.
Step 1: stave off your appetite until after you’ve rolled.
Step 2: place can below your hip and roll it down to just above your knee.
Step 3: repeat this action, remembering to relax into the can.
Step 4: swap legs and repeat until your hunger grows too strong.
Step 5: pop the can, heat, add chipotle, devour.
10. VASE WITH FLOWERS — LOWER BACK
Flowers and plants have been known to refresh a room and bring
new life into a dull space. Rolling does the same for your back.
Step 1: fill a vase with a floral arrangement of your choosing.
We recommend native flora.
Step 2: position the vase at the base of your spine so the lovely botanicals mask any post-exercise odours.
Step 3: roll until your bouquet/back loosens.
Step 4: right the vase, add water and place on table.