Note: I will be filming a youtube tutorial on this over summer for you all (ya girls gotta get through finals)... Here is some info in the mean time!! (:
Foam rolling… one of my favorite discoveries of my fitness career. I have always known what a foam roller is, but I never actually incorporated it into my gym routine until last summer. I now use the foam roller to warm up my legs and to massage out sore muscles.
What is a foam roller??
A foam roller is a device that helps with deep compression of the muscles. It is meant to help relax and break up tight areas… and trust me, although it can be painful at first, it is so worth it in the end. *scroll for pictures* Foam rolling can be used for warming up, or breaking down sore muscles.
Think performance, function, flexibility and reduced injury.
“Self-myofascial release” is the fancy term which pretty much just means a self-massage to release muscle soreness or tightness. Technically self-myofascial release can be preformed with other things besides a foam roller, such as a lacrosse ball, but for the purpose of this article we will focus on the foam roller.
1) Increased Blood Flow
- This comes from the myofascial release and is why I have started using the foam roller to warm me up for my cardio. It gets the blood flowing, and when your blood is flowing nutrients are being carried throughout the body.
2) Improves Movement
- It is no secret that hydrated, loose muscles are less likely to get hurt. Your range of motion will improve with using a foam roller. This means more muscles are getting worked at any given time during your workout. Foam rolling promotes flexibility which leads to good recovery.
3) Decreased Injury Risk
- With the increased circulation throughout your body, you are more likely to have effective workouts and less likely to hurt yourself. There is also the other end of this situation where you can use a foam roller to help with injuries as well.
How do I use it??
Identify your target area
- Find which area is sore, tight or achy
- Moderate pressure to a specific muscle or muscle group using your bodyweight on the roller
- Think about an inch per second
When you find that money spot
- Sit your body weight on it and try to relax as much as possible. To go even deeper move back and forth, in small increments right over that spot, massaging it out nicely. (caution this will most likely be painful)
- You should start to feel the muscle loosening up
Which kind do I use??
There are a ton of different foam rollers on the market. My suggestion is if you are a part of a gym, start with the ones they have their before you buy one. (assuming they have them)
If you are new to foam rolling you are going to want to use one like this..
As you get more familiar and feel more comfortable you might want to move into one that is a little more intense like this..
Pic credits : Amazon
- Foam rolling can make you sore… but that’s okay! It should feel like your muscles have been worked.
- Drink plenty of water! Just like any massage you want to flush out the toxins released during this process.
- Proceed with caution... if you over do it, you could potentially hurt yourself more than you are helping yourself.