An important component to keeping your muscles working well is regular mobility, stretching, and breaking up myofacia. Whether you exercise or not, foam rollers have a place in your life.
For athletes and folks that regularly exercise, foam rollers offer many of the same benefits as a sports massage, only without the price of a massage. Save money? I'm in!
Beyond that, they are excellent for aging muscles. As we reach our 40s, our muscles become less flexible and tighter.
WHAT FOAM ROLLERS DO
Foam rollers stretch muscles and tendons. But, they also break down soft tissue adhesions and scar tissue. Any high intensity athlete is likely to have developed gnarly adhesions. (You crossfit mongers, are a high intensity athlete so take note).
- Increase mobility
- Fix muscle imbalance
- Relieve painful muscle spasm
- Relieve fatigue after exercise
- Promote normal blood circulation
- Make joints flexible
- Help repair muscles
- Boost muscle recovery
- Re-establish proper movement patterns
- Decreases chances of injury during any activity
When simply using your bodyweight and a foam roller you essentially can perform self-massage or myofacial release. This soothes tight fascia while increasing blood flow and circulation to soft tissues. What are adhesions and fascia you ask?
ADHESIONS AND FASCIA
TIPS FOR USING A FOAM ROLLERMost of the time there is no issue in using foam roller, but if you for any reason think you have a condition that might be adversely affected like a vascular or heart condition, check with your doctor before using a foam roller for myofascial release.
- Perform foam roller sessions when your muscles are warm or after a workout.
- Position the roller under the soft tissue area you want to release or loosen.
- Gently roll your body weight back and forth across the roller while targeting the affected muscle.
- Move slowly and work from the center of the body out toward your extremities.
- If you find a particularly painful area (trigger point), hold that position until the area softens.
- Focus on areas that are tight or have reduced range of motion.
- Roll over each area a few times until you feel it relax. Expect some discomfort. It may feel very tender or bruised at first.
- Stay on soft tissue and avoid rolling directly over bone or joints.
- Keep your first few foam roller sessions short. About 15 minutes is all you need.
- Rest a day between sessions when you start.
- Drink plenty of water after a session, just as you would after a sports massage.
- After a few weeks you can increase your session time and frequency if you choose.