Foam rolling, also known as self-myofascial release, has become more and more popular these days. For years it’s only used by professional athletes, coaches as well as therapists. But now foam rolling has been a familiar daily practice for people at all fitness levels.
What exactly is foam rolling?
The muscles in human body are connected by fascia, which surrounds the tissue, organ, nerves, as well as all other structures in our body. However , fascia may become unhealthy due to injury , excessive use or simply by constantly repetitive movement.
Foam rolling helps to keep fascia healthy by distributing fresh oxygenated blood all the way through. The healthier the fascia the better you move along. Ultimately foam rolling can help to diminish aches and pains, increase flexibility, increase range of motion, enhance performance, accelerate recovery. Whether you are weekend warrior, an endurance athlete or simply looking to alleviate the wear and tear of everyday living you will benefit from foam rolling.
How to foam roll
Foam rolling does not need to be complicated or elaborate. In fact it can be as easy as 1, 2, 3.
1) One minute is better than not rolling at all. Just spend the time to address one area for one minute will improve your movement and is better than not doing it at all.
2) Two zones. When choosing a muscle to roll divide the area into two zones. Apply techniques to each zone slowly while remembering to breathe.
3) Three motions for quick results. The three general techniques are rolling, spans and stretching. Rolling; roll back and forth a few inches at a time while working across the two zones. Spans; when you hit a tender area wave. Wave the area sinus until you feel relief. Stretching; compress a spot while stretching the muscle to a full range of motion. This pin and stretch motion increases circulation and mobility.
To make it easier, simply remember your ABCs when rolling:
- Make sure you start from the ground up. Begin with rolling the calves, quads, glutes then back. As you get more experienced you can work on specific problem areas.
- Inhale and exhale to recover and relax. One key point to rolling is to breathe deeply. It will remind you to move slowly and relax the muscles you roll.
- Consistency is much better than intensity. It is recommended to rolling out 3 to 5 times in one week ideally before and after exercise. Rolling consistently is most important. Don’t just roll when you ache.
Why does it hurt at times?
Those who are new to foam rolling may find some initial discomfort. In fact, this is just like the pain that occurs at times during a massage. You may have experienced to some soreness when pressure is put on tender muscles and tense areas. Foam rolling works in the same way as it is. If you happen to compress sensory receptors , they may feel awkward or uncomfortable. Nevertheless don’t worry ! It is completely normal and with a bit of practice the process turns into enjoyable. Keep in mind , foam rolling is not causing the pain, foam rolling is removing the pain.