Whether you are a bodybuilder, runner, or couch potato, you should incorporate foam rolling into your weekly routine. Foam rolling is one of the most effective techniques for recovery, injury prevention, and proper blood flow. Foam rollers are a popular mechanism for self-myofascial release (SMR) because it is cheaper than massages, and easy to use.
Myofascial release is a therapy that teats skeletal muscle immobility and pain by relaxing tight and contracted muscles, improving blood circulation, and stimulating stretching in muscles. Self-myofascial release is doing that by yourself! Viola!Research shows that SMR can improve or even eliminate the pain, muscle tension, and diminished blood flow that comes with overuse, trauma, or inactivity. If you are an everyday gym-goer, runner, or otherwise active individual, SMR has a wide range of benefits.
The most basic and obvious benefits of foam rolling is increased blood flow, increased range of motion, and better movement in general. SMR decreases the chance of injury and shortens required recovery time post workout. Increased circulation is huge for recovery which means your workouts can be more frequent and effective.
Ideally, you should foam roll before a workout as part of your warm up, and after a workout as part of your cool down. However, if you don’t have the time to do it both times, you should pick one and know how to maximize the benefits. If you choose to roll before a workout, it should be done first thing before any stretching or cardio or lifting. This will allow blood to flow to places that aren’t receiving a lot of blood and help prepare your body for your workout. In order to get the most optimum results, focus your rolling on your calves, the outside of your IT band, your piriformis, your adductors, and your mid and upper back. If you choose to roll after a workout, it should be done as part of your stretching routine to help repair your muscles. However, rolling before your workout will be the most beneficial to help prevent soreness.
Watch THIS informative video on the basics of foam rolling. Make sure you avoid your joints and areas such as knees, tailbone, and Achilles tendon. If you feel a pinching feeling while you are foam rolling your muscles, hold there for 30 seconds. The pinching is a knot in your muscles and the pressure will be released if you hold it (it will hurt, but it will help!)
That’s okay. If you have a tennis ball that’ll work too! I highly recommend investing in a foam roller, but if you need a little TLC (or should I say, SMR) right now and have a tennis ball lying around, it’ll do the trick. You can find foam rollers online for around $20, so go order one!
Some foam rollers that I use:
LuxFit foam roller is available here $11.95 here
ProSource foam roller is available $28.99 here
GoFit foam roller is available $19.95 here
GoFit Massage Roller 18″ for Quick Post-Workout Recovery Time by GoFit available for $39.99