A foam roller is a lightweight, cylindrical tube of compressed foam. It may be used for many reasons, including increasing flexibility, reducing soreness and eliminating muscle knots. Foam rolling is a form of ‘self myofascial release’ or self massage.
Research has shown that foam rollers can do four things:
Overall, foam rolling increases blood flow to your muscles, improving delivery of oxygen during your workout. It also helps to relieve muscle tension, especially after a hard workout.
Foam rolling does not change muscle or fascia length or destroy ‘trigger points’- the change in range of motion seen after foam rolling is due to increased tolerance to stretch due to nervous system desensitisation rather than a change in structure.
The foam roller can be used on a wide range of muscles, simply by rolling back and forth over the length of the muscle itself.
It is often uncomfortable, especially over a particularly tight area however it is best to not push in to too much pain as this could be counterproductive.
The good news is, research has shown no difference in 30 seconds of foam rolling versus 5 minutes so don’t spend all day on it!
Foam rolling can be applied before a workout, in conjunction with a dynamic warm up to take advantage of the short term changes in joint range of motion and performance.
Foam rolling can also be used as needed after a workout, particularly if experiencing delayed onset muscle soreness. Test/retest yourself and see the changes yourself, for example try rolling your legs before a leg workout and see how it affects your mobility and performance.
Lie on your back and place the roller under your upper back, just below your shoulder blades. Lift your hips slightly, engage your core, then roll slowly on your upper back area.
Lower your hips, keep your lower back straight, place your hands behind your head for support, and relax into an arch over the roller.
Lie on your side, and lift your body enough to place the roller under your hip. Stabilise your core for balance, then roll slowly from hip to above the knee. Switch to the other side and repeat.
Sit on the foam roller (width-wise), and cross right foot over left knee and use your hands for support behind you. Lean in slightly as you roll, which will amplify the massage on your glutes. This can also help for sciatica.
Hope you found our blog on Foam Rolling useful.
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