Foam Rolling – The Benefits, What, Where & How
If you’ve visited a gym recently, you have most likely seen someone rolling around on a piece of foam or one is stacked in a corner. Foam rollers are often cylindrical-shaped and can sometimes have bumps or unusual shapes around them. The question is… why are people foam rolling?
WHAT IS FOAM ROLLING?
Foam rolling is different to stretching. Stretching involves moving a limb to the end of its range of motion, holding this position for an extended period of time, relaxing the stretch, and then repeating 2-4 times.
Foam rolling is a tool for self-myofascial release (SMFR). This technique is commonly used for promoting soft-tissue healing, increasing flexibility, reducing soreness, and targeting those nasty muscle knots.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
Research shows the great benefits of foam rolling on the body. Foam rolling can be a more effective method for increasing flexibility when compared to static and dynamic stretching and it is also often recommended as part of a warm-up to help improve muscular performance during a workout.
Foam rolling after a workout is also effective for reducing delayed-onset muscle soreness also known as DOMS, which is the soreness you can get after a tough workout that comes on a day or two after your intense workout. Foam rolling is also beneficial for improving blood flow and circulation to muscles, increasing range of motion and just simply relaxing those tired and sore muscles after a good workout.
HOW DO I DO IT?
Like with any type of exercise it is important to make sure we’re doing it right. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of foam rolling.
STEP 1. Choose a muscle or a certain muscle group you want to focus on.
STEP 2. Use the foam roller and your bodyweight to apply moderate pressure to the chosen area.
STEP 3. Roll slowly on the foam roller and pause for several seconds when you find areas that are tight or slightly painful. After a few seconds you should begin to feel the muscle “releasing”. Here we are looking for that exquisite pain points. These are usually your “Trigger Points”, so spend some time on these areas for best results.
STEP 4. If it’s too painful to apply direct pressure, slowly roll around the surrounding area and come back to the painful spots as often as you can.
STEP 5. If you’re new to foam rolling you may feel sore the next day. Rest that area for a day or two before rolling again.
COMMON MISTAKES PEOPLE MAKE
Here are four things to be mindful of when foam rolling:
- Some areas are best to avoid. Foam roll above and below your lower back, but avoid rolling out directly on your lower back unless you’ve had professional advice on how to do that. The same goes for your neck.
- Don’t just roll up and down, aim to roll in multiple directions.
- Do not focus on one muscle. The body has many muscles so try roll out your entire body not just the tight muscles. Target several areas like your hips, hamstrings, mid and upper back, and glutes.
- It’s not a race. Roll slowly and gently. It can take up to 60 seconds of rolling in one spot to get a muscle to relax.
If you need advice on foam rolling for best results, please contact our friendly team for more info. We are here to help!