One of the things I’ve been trying to do more with this training cycle is to take preventative action to keep some of those nagging injuries from creeping up again. Lately, I’ve been trying to do some foam rolling about once a week, the day after my long run, to help get rid of some of that extra soreness. While I had every intention of creating some beautiful info graphic or video, Cole emailed me with this BEAUTIFUL graphic and great explanation of the benefits of of foam rolling. So, instead of reinventing the wheel, I’ll let Cole explain to you the amazing benefits of foam rolling!
If you’re even remotely into fitness, you know that the days following a workout can consist of aching muscles and slow, painful movement. Muscle soreness is a common result of just about any type of physical exercise whether it be weight lifting in the gym or running long distance, and if you’ve ever felt the effects of a post-workout soreness then you should know EXACTLY what I’m talking about.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could just stroll down to your local day spa and get a nice, relaxing massage after every workout to help get rid of that wretched tightness in your muscles? Well duh, but whether you want to shell out $100+ for each visit is a whole different story. That’s where the foam roller comes in. What if I told you that you could get the equivalent of one of those day spa deep tissue massages right in the comfort of your own home using nothing but a $10 piece of foam. Call me crazy, right?
What A Foam Roller Is & How It Works
If you don’t recognize the name “foam roller,” you’ve probably seen one at some point in your life and you just don’t know it. You know those weird rolling-pin-looking things you can find in the corner of just about every gym or doctor’s office in the world? Those are foam rollers. You may have even tried using one before!
Foam rollers work WONDERS when it comes to relieving muscle soreness. They can be used on nearly every part of the body, and they work by applying pressure to target areas in order to massage out knots and trigger points. You know how massage therapists talk about needing to push the knots out of your muscles in order to provide relief? That’s exactly what a foam roller does, except instead of someone’s hands massaging the knots out, you’re using the foam roller to do that for you.
Foam rolling isn’t just for relieving muscle soreness, though. Foam rolling is used to increase the overall mobility of your body. To get a little more technical, the benefits of using a foam roller have to do with keeping your fascia in good health. Fascia is a fibrous layer of connective tissue that surrounds all of the muscles in your body. Without proper mobility, fibers of the fascia become cross linked and they bind to muscles and nerves, inhibiting normal motion and causing pain. It’s kind of like hair; if you never brush it, it becomes tangled.
Keeping your fascia in good health by using a foam roller religiously provides your body with numerous benefits. In addition to the relief of muscle soreness, foam rollers can help correct muscle imbalances, improve range of motion in joints and neuromuscular efficiency, break up scar tissue, remove lactic acid build up in your muscles, decrease the effects of stress on the body, and even suppress and/or reduce sensitivity to increase your pain tolerance. The amount of benefits that you can get from just this one practice is truly impressive.
Another thing I love about foam rolling is that you’re completely in control of your own massage. You can choose exactly where you want to massage, and exactly how much pressure you want to apply. If you like to go deep tissue, you can shift your weight so that the majority of it is placed over the roller and the pressure application is on level 10. On the flip side, if you’re sensitive to pressure, then you can use your arms and legs as bases and leverage to help control the pressure accordingly. This leads us into our final section: how to roll.
How To Foam Roll Properly
Believe it or not, the thing people struggle with most with foam rolling is the actual rolling itself! If you’ve tried it before, you know that perfecting the moves can be tricky. Form and technique are the most integral pieces to the process to ensure you are massaging effectively, which is why I’ve created a detailed guide on foam roller exercises, teaching proper form and technique for every move in the book.
So grab yourself a roller, clear a little area on the floor, and follow along with the infographic! With a little practice and dedication, you’ll be a foam rolling pro in no time benefiting from all of the amazing physical advantages we talked about above.
Click Here for Foam Rolling Guide!
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