Video Fitness

Flexibility for the Inflexible

Keli Roberts

Keli uses a foam roller throughout this 30 minute workout. You'll stretch and lengthen, unkink knots and gently tone your body. (some research suggests that deep tissue massage using a foam roller helps manage cellulite)

Some exercises shown will also enhance your balance (as you try to remain on the roller) and tone your core. Example: rolling your shins back and forth on the roller or balancing yourself on the roller and performing core stabilization exercises.

Keli rolls out every part of the body. You can perform the entire workout or choose from 8 different body parts: Lower Back/Upper Back, Glutes/Piriformus/Hamstrings (then choose opposite side to work both evenly), Shins/One Arm One Leg Postural Balance, Scapula/Rotator Cuff Shoulder/Chest/Inner Thighs, Glutes, Core Stabilization and Neck.

Anyone can do this workout, as you control the amount of pressure you put into it.

Keli's lighthearted approach (she'll ask the background girls "are you feeling it too") makes this a routine you'll grab often to help release tension and get a good stretch.

Instructor comments: Keli's clear cueing ensures proper placement on the foam roller to get the best effect from the movement.

Denise R


Flexibility for the Inflexible is one of Keli Robert's latest offerings using the newest trend in group fitness, the foam roller. Foam rollers have been used by physical therapists for years to address muscle tension and promote flexibility. According to my physical therapist, foam rollers work through myofacial release. When an injury occurs (or lack of motion), the muscle fascia tend to adhere to muscles and tend to cause pain.
Foam rollers break up the tension and eliminate the 'tight spots' . There are also bonus choreography blocks from some of Keli's other newer offerings. The entire workout clocks in at roughly 29 minutes and is chaptered into several sections, each of which is detailed below. There are two other miked 'backup babes' (Evolution workout terminology!) who do the workout along with Keli. Keli occasionally oohs and ahhs during the workout, but since I seemed to do the same thing when I hit a tight spot, I didn't mind! (She doesn't do this to the point of being annoying.)

Section 1: Warmup
Keli starts out with a massage for the hips, massaging each side. She suggests changing angles to find sore spots and does so throught the entire workout.

Section 2: Lower and Upper Back
This is a nice section where Keli covers the entire back. She changes the position of the roller several times to release the kinks in the back. I particularly liked the
upper back stretch/massage that hit the trapezius muscles, an area that is constantly tight on my body. I felt my back was arching a bit too much on the lower back stretches, but if you don't have lower
back issues (as do I) this may not be a problem for you.

Section 3: Glutes/piriformus/ hamstring

The first exercise is a piriformus stretch--always a plus for me. Keli crosses one knee over the other leg to intensify the stretch. Next are hamstring stretches. Keli changes positions to hit different heads of the
hamstring muscle. Next are glute stretches, which I found fairly intense, particularly the ones for the gluteus medius (muscles on the sides of the hip). There are different variations given for this exercise, including the suggestion to stack both legs on the roller for greater intensity. The final stretch in this section is the quadriceps stretch, where you lie down prone over the roller and massage the quadriceps. I used this stretch a lot when I was running regularly, both to warm up and cool down.

Section 4: Shins/one arm/one leg postural balance
This section begins with an exercise that requires balancing on one knee and reaching out with the opposite arm and opposite leg. I found this to be rather challenging to my balance! This is followed by stretches for the calves and the achilles tendons and shins. I don't know if it's just me, but every time I put all of my weight on my (GAIAM) foam roller (as in the shin stretch) I feel like I'm permanently denting it! The section ends with the same exercise as the start except instead of balancing on the roller you only hold onto the roller with one hand. I felt the balancing exercises would have been more appropriate to include in the core stabilization section, but in terms of body positioning the exercises flowed well.

Section 5: Glutes/piriformus/hamstring other side

All of the stretches performed in section three are basically repeated, but with a few twists. The quadriceps stretch is done in 'frog' position with both feet together, in order to target the inner part of the quadriceps. I really enjoyed this one because I felt it worked out some tightness in the groin area as well.

Section 6: Scapula/ rotator cuff/shoulder/chest /inner thigh

This section mostly targeted the upper body. The massage for the scapula was very good--I also felt it in my lats as well. There are also stretches for the rotator cuff, shoulder and chest muscles. The inner thigh stretch is very intense, depending on how much body weight you put into the exercise. Keli shows how to vary the intensity by bending your leg (less intensity) and straightening the leg (more intensity).

Section 7: Glutes

This section hits the glutes and piriformus again, which is always welcome for me! I just wished some of the exercises had been done longer!

Section 8: Core stabilization neck

The first exercise is a relaxing supine stretch along the foam roller, that really helps to open up the chest and the front of the body. Keli explains the neutral spine here before proceeding with the core stabilization exercises. Overall, this section is not too difficult but good for bringing awareness to the body. The first exercise involves arm circles, which are made harder in the next progression by bringing the feet together. The next exercise lifts one foot then the other off the floor. You progress to lifting both feet off the ground (up up down down). Next are 'dead bugs'--a challenging exercise even without the foam roller where you extend opposite arm and legs in a supine position. Last are neck rolls from side to side while the neck rests on the roller.

Overall, I liked this workout and can definitely see a place for this in my rotation. Keli gives lots of good form tips and ideas on using this piece of equipment. This is not the most 'difficult' workout and I wish the exercises had been done a bit longer, but this is great for any level of exerciser that wants a non-intimidating introduction to using the foam roller.

Instructor comments: Warm, engaging and gives lots of tips for using the foam roller.


March 31, 2007

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