What the hell is foam rolling and why should I do it?

You see them in nearly every single gym these days. Little cylinder-shaped tools of pain, some of them even have little teeth designed to inflict greater discomfort.

I’m talking of course about foam rollers.

 

These little guys are an amazing tool to improve mobility and flexibility, help with range of motion and are an excellent tool to assist with injury prevention and rehabilitation.

Why should I use this instrument of pain?

Your body has thin connective tissue surrounding the muscles which is known

 

as fascia (think of that thin skin that covers a chicken breast). As you move, exercise, sleep, work or just exist, your fascial tissue can become restricted over time and because of this, the mobility and freedom of your muscles can become limited.

 

One of the most effective ways to lengthen and free your fascial tissue is to foam roll. This causes the fascial tissue to unstick from any areas it may be tight or limited and will allow the muscles more room for flexibility and movement.

So how do these things work?

Unfortunately, with foam rolling, pain is usually your friend. If you’ve found an area on your body that is tender when being rolled, then that area genrerally needs a bit of work. Below are a couple of tips that can help you get the most benefits out of your foam rolling.

1: Breathe!  I know, I know, it hurts doesn’t it? But you must try and relax your body! If your muscles have tightened under the pressure of the roller, then you will not get deep into your muscle fibres. You must learn to relax. Take your focus away from the foam rolling and focus on your breathing. Long exhales will allow you and your targeted muscles to relax, which will allow greater breakdown of any knots or sore spots that are being rolled out.

2: Go towards the pain!  It’s human nature, when something hurts to shy away from it. In this case you most likely need to do the opposite. Find that area on your body which has the most muscular soreness and sit the foam roller into that area until the pain subsides. Once that area’s soreness starts to subside, inch your way further along the fibres until you find that next sore area. Then repeat!

3: Lengthen and shorten the muscle. Put the affected area through it’s natural range of movement. Meaning, if you’re rolling your quads (thighs) then after 1 or 2  mins of static rolling, draw your heel to your bum then straighten your leg back out. If you’re rolling your calf, point your toe towards your chest, then away from you. If you can move your muscle through it’s active range of movement, it’ll unstick any areas that may be more stubborn than others.

 

For a more in depth look at the benefits of foam rolling, we run a mobility and flexibility class every Thursday from 7pm. It’s a fantastic class that’s sure to help with any sore or niggling trouble areas you may have.

Get in touch with us for more info on how to book in!

 

 

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