Adding foam rolling to your fitness routine will help you relieve muscle tightness, soreness, and inflammation. It can also increase your range of motion, flexibility, and mobility.
What Is Foam Rolling?
Foam rolling is a self-myofascial release (SMR) technique. Think of it as self-massage. It’s an effective tool to add to your warm-up or cooldown, before or after workouts.
Self-myofascial release creates deep compression to break up adhesions formed between muscles and their surrounding tissues as well as relax tight muscles. Imagine you are tenderizing your own muscles. It also provides you with the ability to apply pressure to specific areas of the body and to control the intensity of that pressure. This is a huge benefit to people new to foam rolling!
You should plan on spending 30-60 seconds rolling out a specific part/area of your body and move through a sequence like the one provided in the video below.
Foam rolling is used to self-massage sore, tight, and restricted muscle groups of the body to regenerate tissue both pre and post-workout to promote injury reduction and allow for a smoother, more productive workout. Foam rolling helps to resume normal blood flow and function to promote healthy tissues.
In addition, self-massage before stretching allows for a better, more complete stretch by smoothing out the knots. You should always precede flexibility work with tissue quality for the best results.
Why Is Foam Rolling Important?
Over time, you develop scar tissue, adhesions, knots, and trigger points due to high-intensity training, overuse, and/or extended periods of sitting.
Almost all chronic joint pain or overuse injuries are caused by tightness and restrictions in the muscles above and below the joint in question.
In other words, it’s not about PAIN SITE… it’s about PAIN SOURCE!
- Knee pain is often caused by restrictions in the tissue of your calves and front/inner/outer thighs.
- Back pain is often caused by restrictions in your glutes and hamstrings.
- Shoulder pain is often caused by restrictions in your thoracic spine (T-Spine), chest and lats.
When we don’t take care of our muscles and tissues we can experience loss of movement, adhesions, and painful movement.
The quality of your tissues describes the general health of your muscles and the interconnected web of fascia that surrounds them all. Fascia is the webbing that runs underneath our skin – It holds our organs in place and connects our muscles to our bones. Fascia can become stiff, stuck, and in mobile due to too much sitting, dehydration, repetitive movements, and lack of movement.
Breaking up fascia and restoring proper blood flow and function has benefits that stretching alone cannot provide. However, both foam following and stretching are needed for optimal flexibility, mobility, and movement.
When you add foam rolling to your routine you don’t just notice benefits during your workouts you also notice benefits to your everyday life.
You move better.
You aren’t so stiff and sore.
You don’t experience pain.
How Do You Foam Roll?
Self-myofascial release can be performed with a foam roller, lacrosse ball, or softball. Apply pressure to areas of your body for a period of time, usually 30-60 seconds. We put together a follow-along video for you and all you need is a foam roller and a lacrosse ball or a softball. Perform the routine in the video 3-5 times per week for the best results.
Looking for the best foam roller to use? We have found that not all foam rollers are created equal! CLICK HERE for the one we prefer and personally use.