Foam rolling is one of the most widely used techniques. Mainly used by fitness minded folk and athletes, the benefits of foam rolling now sees people from all walks of life enjoying the benefits from foam rolling. Now a common tool to help in loosening up sore muscles and to assist in muscle recovery form, Foam rolling exercises is a form of self-massage and can also be known as a type of self-myofascial release. These are exercises that can be done both before and after exercising.
Whether you’re an athlete or an office worker anyone can benefit from foam rolling. Almost all daily activities involve muscle usage; hence muscle tightness and soreness can occur in everyone. Foam rolling is a helpful tool in decreasing pain and tension in the muscle. Obviously, not everyone is going to have the same muscular pain or tension, but that is why the foam roller is so handy.
So, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of Foam Rolling?
Decrease Muscle Tightness
Targeted and focused pressure over a tight muscle can help to stretch out and decrease any tightness that the muscle may have. AND, its effects aren’t just subjective to the area being rolled. The focused pressure can also help the surrounding muscles to relax helping to improve your range of motion. It is seen that foam rolling coupled with old school stretching can help to lengthen the muscle and decrease any knots or tightness that the muscle may have (Time, 2018).
Improve Blood Circulation
As blood carries oxygen through the body, good circulation becomes an essential part of good health and well-being. Foam rolling can help increase blood circulation by breaking up tight areas in the muscle where the blood flow may become restricted. This will then help the muscles gain more oxygen and allow the muscle to function better.
‘Fascia’ is the connective tissue that both binds and stabilizes the muscles throughout the body. It has a major effect on the way we move. Foam rolling and its direct effect on the fascial system not only improves the range of motion in your muscles and entire skeletal system, but you can also increase your blood circulation, break down tightness or knots in the muscles and strengthen the muscle tissue (Time, 2018).
Great for Recovery
Ever had that feeling after a heavy workout where you feel like you can’t even move because you’re so sore? Well, foam rolling is a great way to reduce exercise-related soreness. Often a consistent routine of stretching and foam rolling can help in preventing many injuries that can occur as a result of tightness and overuse. Another huge benefit for those wanting to improve performance is increased range of motion. When our muscles tighten up, our range can decrease and also our capacity to produce the desired force necessary to complete a movement. Foam rolling and stretching can help keep your muscles in tip-top shape by reducing muscle tension which can inhibit the full use and power production from your muscles.
Pre and Post Workout Benefits
Foam rolling pre-workout can be useful in warming up the muscles and loosening up any fascial restrictions. Foam rolling for around 5-10 minutes before a workout can help in increasing range of motion. An increased range of mobility can also result in having a greater force production through our muscles because it allows them to be able to contract to their full capacity. (Imagine trying to fling an already taught rubber band across the room! It’s not going to go far. Now imagine a rubber band with full capacity to stretch and how far that gets flung across the room! Big difference.)
A post-workout roll will provide release from any post-exercise soreness helping in the recovery of the muscles.
Important things to remember when Foam Rolling
Slow it Down!
Foam rolling is not a race, it is important to take your time when foam rolling. You need to take your time to allow your muscles to relax and work out any tightness/soreness that you might be experiencing. It is important to breathe through any pain. Taking long deep breaths is a good tool to help manage the pain you may experience. To start you do not need to use the pressure of your whole body weight. You can start by using 50% and gradually move up as you feel needed.
Don’t Spend too Much on Sore Spots
When foam rolling over a sore spot it’s important to understand that more pressure will not get better results. With very tender areas, it’s important to work into it very slowly and lightly and once the muscle gets warm and starts to give, can you then work a little deeper. Don’t worry about how much time to spend on specific areas as it will be different for each muscle group. Listen to your body.
Foam rolling is a great tool to have. It will not only make your muscle feel better and but is also great for the recovery process. It’s an effective and easy to use ‘self-massaging’ method suitable for anyone and everyone!
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Time. (2018). Available here